The Fat Gene: am I doomed to put on weight?

The VITL Nutrition Team / 30 Jan 2018

Think your obesity gene means you’re doomed to put on weight? Think again.


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According to research, the benefits of sticking to a healthy diet are greater in those carrying the obesity gene compared to those who don't. 

A new study has been published in the BMJ which looked at 77 genetic markers of weight and has found that genetic predisposition to obesity is no barrier to long-term successful weight management. 

The study, which followed over 10,000 people over the course of a staggering 20 years, found that the higher your genetic risk of obesity, the more important your diet is in reducing your likelihood of weight gain. In other words, if your genes put you at risk of obesity, it’s even more key you stick to a healthy diet.

How to keep your weight in check

Here are some key things you can do to reduce your risk of long-term weight gain: 

  • Balance your caloric intake with physical activity - regular physical activity is beneficial for helping you burn the calories you consume instead of depositing them as fat 
  • Get enough sleep - feeling exhausted can cause your stress levels to go up and can often trigger cravings for sugar-laden, refined-carbohydrate snacks. Not only will they cause sugar crashes, they'll also add to the waistline. By getting enough sleep, you not only reduce the risk of this happening, you’re much less likely to grab a midnight snack!
  • Cut out or avoid sugar - sugar causes your blood sugar levels to go very high and then very low, and the resultant crash causes you to feel irritable, tired and hungry. By choosing whole grains and healthy carbs, you reduce the chance of this happening and are less likely to store sugar as fat causing your weight to increase 
  • Reduce your stress levels - stress can also affect your ability to metabolise food and your likelihood of storing fat. They can also cause your blood sugars to go haywire leaving you craving sugary foods to cope. Managing your stress makes it easier to make healthy food choices 
  • Remember not all fats are foes - cutting all fats from your diet can be detrimental to your weight and health. Avoid trans fats, moderate your saturated fat intake, and enjoy healthful unsaturated fat from fish, nuts and seeds
  • Find out if you carry the so-called "fat gene" - Knowledge is power. If you're a carrier, perhaps that will be all the motivation you need to help you stick to your health goals?


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