Genetic tendency to be overweight: does it really exist?

Health Tips

It’s time to love yourself and realize that fullness is due not only to the choice of your favorite dishes and the regularity of physical activity. Like many other physiological features, the accumulation of fat is genetic in nature. But I do not want to say that all fat people are genetically predisposed to this! We need to figure out in which case “genes are to blame”, and in which there is simply not enough willpower. In some families, they like to “eat well” – their representatives stand out for their solid size. There is a temptation to blame everything on family nutritional habits, but the work of the fullness gene cannot be ruled out.

How Genes Work

In the simplest case, a gene is a segment of a DNA molecule that codes for a protein. It is known that genes are polymorphic, that is, there are many working variants of the same gene that differ little from each other. In humans, the same gene is present in two copies – from the father and from the mother.

According to studies, the FTO gene is associated with fat gain and obesity. Scientists have proven that people with the A gene variant are predisposed to an increased body mass index, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

In 49% of the clients of our medical genetic center who applied for a study to select a diet and training regimen, this particular variant was found in one of the copies of the gene. On average, such people have a slightly increased body mass index. In 33%, both copies of the FTO gene are represented by a “dangerous variant” – their BMI is significantly increased.

In other words, here’s the bad news: genes do “gain weight” about half the time.

What to do with this knowledge

Do not consider this discovery as an indulgence for yourself. Genetics must be considered if you are going to go on a strict diet or put yourself in the hands of a ruthless trainer. An integrated approach is important in everything, therefore, so that your plans do not turn against you, diet and training should correspond to your genetic characteristics and exclude extreme sports.

But, whatever one may say, we again run into hated diets and odious sports. As a consolation, I can tell you that both diet and sports can also be selected based on genetic characteristics – and then they will not cause you persistent disgust.

It is already known that there are several features of eating behavior that form the genetic “legacy”. First of all, it is a craving for the consumption of sweets and the sensation of sweet taste. Often, the habit of snacking on simple carbohydrates like sweets or sweet pastries develops into addiction – this is typical for people with a certain variant of the TAS1R3 gene: the sensitivity of receptors to the taste of sweets decreases, you always strive to “get the missing”. Those with a blunted perception of sweet taste will have to work hard, but the transition to proper nutrition can be “softer” through sweet fruits or berries.

The feeling of fullness and the habit of snacking also have a genetic nature. In fact, these are two sides of the same coin. One of the frequent recommendations of nutritionists is fractional nutrition: accustom yourself to the fact that a couple of spoons of food is enough to feel that “something has fallen into the stomach.” It turns out that many organisms are genetically tuned to fractional nutrition, they have a natural need to constantly throw something into themselves. It is important to keep track of what exactly!

From a physiological point of view, the perception of food and satiety is a whole complex of processes in which both the digestive and nervous systems are involved. In this case, focusing on the polymorphisms of the genes that are involved in these processes, you can adjust the diet and highlight the “weak points” of your body that you need to monitor.

Who gets fat from what

Where do fat vegetarians come from? Why not everyone manages to cope with excess weight on the Atkins or Dukan diet? The fact is that for some, fullness may be due to the consumption of carbohydrates, while for others – fats. And this is also genetically determined.

Roughly speaking, some people can eat pasta at night, and nothing will happen to them if they do not add cheese to the pasta. And others, on the contrary, eat fatty cheeses – and nothing to them. And they mixed cheese with pasta or put it on a sandwich – that’s it, we’re getting fat!

But even if a genetic test shows that you are a real lucky person, no nutritionist can say with certainty that with your “favorable” gene variant, you can enthusiastically eat buttered buns while sitting on the couch – an integrated approach based on a conscious lifestyle.

DNA testing is just one source of information. If you want to be healthy, listen to yourself. And love yourself.


Read also:

Autophagy: the collapse of myths about proper nutrition

The Hunger Games: Why Diets Don’t Work

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