Obesity affects more than 500 million people worldwide and obesity can trigger several diseases including high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, diabetes, sleep disorders, cancer, etc. According to fundamental research, certain genes could lead to overweight and obesity. Several gens are linked to body weight and cause increased natural store of fat. But it doesn’t mean that all obese people have fat genes and it doesn’t mean that if you have obese parents, your destiny is also obesity. Sometimes obesity can run in families not because of genetic factors but because of unhealthy eating habits, unhealthy lifestyle and unhealthy environment. You always can fight obesity with healthy diet and physical exercises. Obesity genetic factors work in different ways.
Scientists identified fat mass and obesity-associated protein (FTO) – it is very specific enzyme that is encoded by the FTO gene located on chromosome 16. Women with FTO gene have increased risks for obesity development by 20-30%. This gene stimulates fat accumulation (storage) instead of burning energy received from foods. Actually the behavior of body fat cells depends on certain gens. So, if you are suffering from obesity, it is not always about eating too much. FTO gene demonstrate predisposition to overweight and obesity. Having FTO gene doesn’t destine you to become obese but may predispose you to it. Recent science about obesity genetic factors (fat genes) opens the door to new approach concerning obesity, specific drugs, lifestyle, special diet and physical activities.
Obesity genetic factors
FTO gene can play very important role in obesity development – it has indirect influence. FTO gene can be considered as a master switch that affects two other genes that control body energy burning (so called “thermogenesis”). According to scientists, brown and beige fatty tissue (“good fat”) burn energy (calories received from foods), while the more common white fat (“bad fat”) stores fat tissue instead of burning. Human body constantly makes fat cells and depending on 2 specific genes fat is becoming brown/ beige or white.
During laboratory experiments on mice it was clearly demonstrated that inactivation of above mentioned genes lead to decreased weight and increased energy burning.
Dr Naima Moustaid-Moussa
“Obesity is a very complex disease, and many factors can contribute to it and cause it, including genetics, behavior and environment”
Naima Moustaid-Moussa, PhD, director of the Obesity Research Cluster at Texas Tech University.
Fat genes don’t explain all obesity cases. Scientists identified 11 genetic regions associated with the development of obesity and fat gain (often called as “fat genes”). Most probably some people are born to gain more (having fat storing predisposition).
Some researchers suggest that FTO gene could influence other aspects of obesity including lifestyle, eating habits, daily behavior and appetite.
Obesity genetic factors – how to fight
If your parents are fat, it doesn’t means you must be fat also. Family history alone doesn’t seem to be enough to make you obese. Your healthy lifestyle can trump your genes.
Health experts already demonstrated that even if you have certain obesity genetic factors (“fat genes”), it is not your destiny, you can change course by breaking a sweat regularly – by fighting poor eating habits, by making physical exercises regularly and by avoiding all passive stressful lifestyle.
Prof Zhaoping Li
“We know from research that some genetic predisposition increases your risk to be overweight and obese, but it can be overcome by lifestyle. Genetics load the gun, environment pulls the trigger.”
Zhaoping Li, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Are you ready to fight your fat genes? Here are some important recommendations for you:
Stop blaming your obesity genetic factors and switch to healthy lifestyle;
Be active and try regular physical activities (at least 2.5 hours per week). Best is daily moderate-intensity walking 30 minutes.
Protein is important – include in daily diet at least one protein-rich component (turkey, shrimp, fish, chicken, peanuts, eggs). Protein fills you up and requires more energy for digestion (more energy burning).
Choose healthy foods (vegetables, fruits and whole grains).
Mediterranean-style diet (rich in olive oil, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts) is the best for people with fat genes (obesity genetic factors).
Drink green tea every day – it can boost of several genes that regulate metabolism and burn energy.
Daily water consumption should be over 2 liters.
Develop healthy eating schedule (never avoid breakfast, consume most daily calories during lunch and don’t eat after 6-7pm).
Eat less (reduce portions) – control consumed calories according to your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).
Keep and maintain your ideal weight according to Body Mass Index.
Disclaimer: It is strongly recommended to consult your doctor for professional advice. Above mentioned information and recommendations are just general and should be adapted to each person according to personal health indicators and status.