Do You Have The Fat Gene?
Losing weight isn’t easy, and it’s harder still when your genes are working against you.
We have known for a few years of a common gene that is linked to obesity, called the FTO or the Fat Gene.
This gene is associated with extra body fat, obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.
A new study confirms the connection and goes one step further to ask how the FTO gene influences obesity – does it ramp up calorie consumption or dim calorie burning?
To find out, the researchers, who included Joanne Cecil, PhD, of Scotland’s University of Dundee, studied some 2,700 elementary school kids in Scotland.
Cecil’s team measured the children’s height, weight, waist and hip circumferences. They also checked the kids’ FTO genes based on saliva samples the students provided.
As expected, the heavier children were more likely to have the FTO gene variant. Their extra weight came from fat mass, not lean tissue.
The groundbreaking part of the study involved a subgroup of 76 students who got their metabolism monitored for 10 days and ate special test meals at the school.
The researchers weighed the available food before and after those meals to see how much the kids had eaten.
Those tests showed the FTO variant didn’t make for a sluggish metabolism, but it was linked to eating more food, especially high-calorie food, in the test meals.
The example above is only one of many studies indicating that the tendency to gain weigh – and hold onto it for dear life – is not only about our lifestyle choices but also embedded in our genes.
Within a DNA gene, there are two genetic variants.
The strength of the genetic influence depends on whether an individual has inherited one or two copies of the FTO gene variant.
Studies have found that people with two copies of this genetic variant (around 16% of people of European descent have two copies) were 3 kg heavier on average than those without.
So, for example, if you carry the FTO gene and you’re 20 kilos overweight, at best you can blame about 3kg of them on your parents; the other 17kg (about 85 percent of your extra weight) are the result of your dieting and exercise habits.
Loss Of Control
The effect of the FTO gene is more focused on the amounts of food eaten than the bodies ability burn energy.
Those with the FTO gene have been found to eat an extra 100 calories per meal. Over a week this amounts to an extra 2100 calories – a whole day’s worth of food!
Think of it like when you are at a buffet, there are the kinds of people that are happy to have one plate and feel satisfied and there are people that will keep eating and eating even though they are full – it is these people that are likely to have the FTO gene.
It is this loss of control that leads to weight gain and makes it so hard to lose those extra kilos.
Our Lifestyle Is To Blame
One important thing to point out is that over the last 100 years, our genetics have not changed but our diet and lifestyle have.
Recent figures indicate that 68% of men and 55% of women are overweight or obese in Australia.
We are eating more than ever and exercising as little as we can so its no wonder why this gene is expressing itself more and more.
You may feel like giving up if you have the FTO gene, you may even want to blame your mum and dad giving you this genetic gift.
Luckily genes do not equal fate.
If you know you carry the fat gene, you can modify your behaviours to lower risk of fulfilling your genetic potential.
Stick to the basics; keep the calories down, avoid high fat (trans and saturated) food and stick to a regular and enjoyable exercise plan.
Exercise Effects FTO
Exercise may hold the key to controlling the effects of this gene.
A recent study found that the effect of the FTO gene on weight gain is reduced by about 30% in physically active adults (at least 1 hour of moderate to vigorous activity per day).
1 hour of exercise per day will cut the effects by 30%, thats some great news for the people that carry the FTO gene.
As carriers of the FTO gene will be drawn towards high fat food, it is possible to satisfy this urge by increasing the amounts of healthy fats that you have in your diet.
Healthy fats are proven to reduce inflammation, increase feeling of satiety and have even been shown to fasten up your metabolism!
Monounsaturated fatty acids include olive oil, nuts, oily fish and avocados. This type of fat can help to reduce LDL cholesterol levels when used in place of saturated or trans fats.
Fish oil is one of the healthiest fats to include in your diet on a daily basis. Omega-3 fatty acids lower triglycerides, decrease blood clotting, are associated with decreased sudden heart attack, improve the health of your blood vessels and help to moderate blood pressure.
Click here for Emed Best Fish Oils.
Genetic Profiling – Stop The Guesswork
Genetic profiling allows us to tailor a specific dietary and exercise plan to fit your genes.
Our genetics are what makes us individual, its no wonder one diet doesn’t work for every one.
Researchers in America gave 138 women a cheek swab to determine their genetic profile.
The women were then put onto a eating plan that suited their DNA, for example low-fat or low-carbohydrate diets.
Those on the ‘correct’ diet for their genes lost two to three times more weight than those on the ‘wrong’ diet, the study found.
The FTO gene is one of 40 which are tested in the Emed Genetic Profile.
Knowing your genetic profile will also help to prevent other chronic health conditions like cardiovascular disease and inflammatory condition which may lead to the development of cancer.
The best part of Emed’s Genetic Profile is that not only do you receive a 40+ page manual to guide you through your genetic findings, you also receive a personalised comprehensive report prepared by a qualified health care professional explaining exactly what your pro-active health program involves.
Emed provides the Best Natural Medicines, Health Products and Practitioner Strength Supplements, diet and lifestyle advice MATCHED to your DNA.