The Truth About Genetics and Weight Loss
When it comes to weight loss, we often hear “Calories out must exceed calories in.” However, the weight bared at a physical appearance might come down to the way DNA is embedded at a cellular level. But do genetics really determine weight?
When it comes to weight loss, we often hear "Calories out must exceed calories in." However, that sort of explanation about body weight is just too simplistic and does not account for many very real variables that have nothing to do with will-power and self-control. In fact, the weight bared at a physical appearance might come down to the way DNA is embedded at a cellular level. But do genetics really determine weight?
The Link Between Genetics and Weight
From tall or short to freckled or not, we come in myriad packages with variable features, most of which are determined by our genetics before we ever draw breath. But genetics may also be playing a role in America’s obesity epidemic, as solid research is helping us understand despite similar weight loss efforts, why some individual’s yield results differently from others. Moreover, researchers have identified specific combinations of genes that appear to correlate with predispositions in which we carry fat or build muscle, along with how some individuals have greater success with exercise regimens.
But the the complexity of genetics can be pretty daunting, particularly for those lacking exposure to the subject. Nonetheless, genes are named with different alpha-numeric codes and so are their variant alleles and if you are not careful, you can end up in some real alphabet soup just trying to discuss the matter. But rather than getting tangled into the ABC’s of genetics, most of the chatter linking weight and genes involve CYP19 and COMT. Whereas researchers have found that having one CYP19 gene and its variants is not consistently associated with percentage fat, total fat, subcutaneous fat or intra-abdominal fat, having two such genes correlates to a slightly larger decrease in body mass index (BMI) and a significantly larger decrease in total fat and percentage of body fat. And having a particular genotype of the COMT gene, together with at least one copy of the CYP19 gene, also relates to a significantly larger decrease in BMI, total fat, and percentage of body fat.
Also further reported by Time, research confirms "that while it’s represented by a single number, weight is the complex combination of a multitude of different metabolic processes, from brain systems that regulate appetite to enzymes that control how efficiently calories are turned from food into energy that the body needs." Most of the evidence lies in genetic mutations tied to the hormones leptin, ghrelin, adinopectin, and neuropeptide Y, which are known to influence appetite control and metabolism. Though the impact of such hormones can expose great obstacles, their recognition allows researchers to consider and develop effective methods to mitigate against additional weight gain.
But, Do Only Genetics Determine Weight?
Whereas the links between genetics and weight loss and gain are strong, there are additional environmental factors that make the complexity of weight only more confusing. Nonetheless, researchers have pinpointed lifestyle choices also impact weight and health status, including the foods we choice to eat and the frequency and intensity of exercise (or lack thereof) we choose to participate in. Ultimately, it is absolutely imperative to not use the genetic cards we were dealt and family histories as a free pass, but rather play the game called life with our best hand forward.
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