Note: The information on this page is intended for informational use only. Do not use this post, or any other information on this site, to diagnose or treat any medical condition, or in lieu of professional medical advice from a certified personal physician. Always check with your doctor before undergoing any treatment or beginning any weight loss regimen.
“It’s not my fault I’m heavy! It’s genetic!”
Many of us have heard or read statements like this in the past, if we haven’t made them ourselves. And while our weight is certainly the result of a complex interplay between environment, behavior, and inherent factors like genetics, laying all the blame on the latter is an easy excuse to make, and an easy way to sell one’s self short.
This conclusion has been backed up by a new study published this week in The BMJ, which found that possession of the so-called “obesity gene,” known more scientifically as alpha-ketoglutarate-dependent dioxygenase FTO (or FTO for short), does not show a positive correlation with failure to lose weight.
There are some caveats, though. The study only looked at whether the FTO gene impacted weight loss in people who are already obese; while it found weight loss treatments like diet, physical activity, and medication had the same impact on those with the gene as those without, researchers do point out that people with FTO are more likely to become obese in the first place. Secondly, FTO isn’t the sole genetic influence on one’s weight – there are a number of genetic traits that influence our body’s composition.
In short: Genetics, and the FTO gene in particular, definitely play a part in determining whether or not you end up heavy in the first place, but new research shows that weight loss interventions affect people with or without the gene just the same.
If you’ve ever struggled to lose weight, especially if you’ve ever thought that genetics played a significant part in your struggle, there are two ways to look at this study:
1) The Pessimistic Way – “Well if my genes aren’t to blame, that means my struggles and failures are all on me.”
2) The Optimistic Way – “If my genes aren’t holding me back, then nothing is. I can do whatever I put my mind to.”
The optimistic option, is of course, the healthier outlook – and far more accurate. Remember when we said weight was the result of a complex interplay between environment, behavior, and genetics? Taking some of the import from the last factor doesn’t place any more on the other two; it just means there’s that much less between you and the benefits of an active, healthy lifestyle.
Whether you’ve got a genetic predisposition or not, losing weight is often a struggle and something that’s better done with help than on one’s own. If you’re in Connecticut and think you could use an extra hand in your effort to lose weight, the team at Medical Weight Loss Solutions offers effective, medically-supervised weight loss programs.* With convenient locations in Wallingford and Branford, Medical Weight Loss Solutions offers low calorie diets, very low calorie diets, body composition analyses, and more.* Get in touch by calling (203) 269-8000 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org today.