Many wonder if being fat is a product of your genes, and if so, is there anything to do about it? Are those with obesity genes doomed to struggle with excess fat and fighting an uphill battle?
The factors surrounding environment versus genetics – the “nature versus nurture issue” – are always complex. Whether we are talking about intelligence, athleticism, artistic abilities, violent tendencies, or fat loss – it is a fascinating issue. In fact, the field of epigenetics (how our current lifestyle or environment may actually cause changes in our genes that we can pass on to our children) is challenging what we were taught about Darwinian genetics. This will have massive implications on our view of health. But that’s for a whole other post!
For now, lets consider what the research says about fat and our genes.
A study published in April in the Archives of Pediatric And Adolescent Medicine looked at 753 adolescents who had zero, one, and two copies of genetic mutations associated with obesity, known as the obesity genes. They looked at weight, waist circumferences, and body fat and compared those who had the obesity gene, versus those who did not. They also factored in activity levels.
Those who were inactive and had the obesity gene were slightly heavier, had larger waists, and more body fat than those who did not. How much larger? Not much: BMI, waist circumference, and body fat were .65, .6 cm, and .04% greater respectively for those who had the obesity gene.
However, for those who were active, there was no difference between those who had the obesity gene and those who did not.
So is the fat gene a myth? No – there is in fact a gene that increases one’s propensity to be heavier.
However, the influence seems to be very slight and is negated by activity level. Score one for the “nurture” contingency.
So you can be confident that being overweight is something almost entirely in your control.
That’s the key word: control
When you have knowledge, you have control, and results will follow.
Learn exactly how we lose fat, and work works in the real world at my upcoming seminar Scientific Fat Loss, Real World Results Tuesday, June 24th, from 6-7pm.