The biggest problem is not the obesity itself, but the pathologies it can cause: diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, digestive disorders, and so on. Moreover, people suffering from obesity face the real risk of living a shorter life than they could. We should also mention that in recent decades the situation has been aggravated by the increase of obesity among adolescents.

The Genetics of Obesity

Is there such thing as the obesity gene?

Geneticists say such gene does exist and there is more than one! However, it is important to preface it by saying that genetics is not a sentence! You can be overweight without having any genetic predisposition and be slim even with the obesity gene. Much depends on your lifestyle! The biggest enemy of human health in the 21st century is high-calorie food combined with low mobility. Less than a century ago, men had to sow a field in the spring, take care of it all summer long, harvest in the fall, and only then they could relax for some time. Today, you can order pizza or any other high-calorie food in one click without even leaving your home. No wonder that obesity genes begin to work against modern people.

An interesting observation

Scientists have been following the life of identical twins that were separated in early childhood, grew up in different families and religions and ate completely different food. Having similar set of genes, the adult twin who was brought up in a Catholic family and ate too much was 35 kg heavier than his brother who grew up the Jewish family where many food products were banned and family members enjoyed physical activity. This experience clearly demonstrates the influence of lifestyle on human body and health.

Let us get acquainted

It is a common myth that overeating is a defect of willpower. But in fact, there is a special area in our brain – the hypothalamus – which is responsible for satiety, energy metabolism and appetite regulation. If a person has low FTO protein level, then they have an increased feeling of hunger. It has been proven that the FTO gene encodes the same name protein and the presence of polymorphism in this gene leads to a permanently low protein level. This means that the feeling of hunger in people with mutated FTO quickly returns after eating and the feeling of fullness always comes late, which leads to an excessive consumption of calories when in fact the body has actually received the required amount. Therefore, the FTO gene is rightfully called the obesity gene. People with a mutation in this gene need to plan their diet in advance and control the portion size.

Another factor that determines person’s weight is the type of energy exchange. The PPARG2 gene is responsible for the metabolism of fats in the body. People with a mutation in this gene are put at a higher risk of developing diabetes – their bodies absorb fat from the food more actively, especially in the abdominal zone. A person with a gene mutation and a person without it may eat the same food, but the first one will absorb more calories from fat which can lead to weight gain. There is also a specific gene that is responsible for carbohydrate absorption – SlC30A8. Examining the polymorphism of this gene makes it is possible to determine the presence of metabolic disorders of carbohydrates and calculate the risk of gaining excess weight with increased consumption of carbohydrate foods for a particular person. The analysis of a number of genes that determine the accumulation of adipose tissue, its splitting during physical activity, and genes that will tell what you need to reduce in food (the intake of fat or carbohydrates) will help to determine the most effective type of nutrition for weight correction.

It is an open secret that physical activity is the key to maintaining body weight and muscle tone. It turns out that genetics also determines the type of physical activity that will bring most effect for a particular person. The analysis of the ADRB3 and ADRB3 genes enables to determine the rate at which your body consumes fat reserves during training.

There is also a number of genes responsible for metabolic rate, the absorption of vitamins and minerals, food preferences, taste buds, intolerance to certain food products. All of them together determine the probability of developing obesity in particular person.