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You Can't Blame Your Genes For Your Extra Pounds, Experts Say

You Can't Blame Your Genes For Your Extra Pounds, Experts Say

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First Posted: Sep 22, 2016 03:05 AM EDT
Blaming your genes is a handy excuse for being overweight, but research shows that anyone is able to lose weight through diet and exercise – whatever their DNA holds. taniadimas / Pixabay CC0

A person's DNA may have something to do with their weight. However, a new research shows that your genes can't stop you from losing weight. According to experts, people who carry a certain "fats genes" are known to be at least 6.6lb heavier and 70 percent more likely to be obese. But, these experts also claim that they are most likely able to shed the excess weight, no matter what their genes say.

John Mathers, who led the study at Newcastle University, said: "You can no longer blame your genes. Our study shows that improving your diet and being more physically active will help you lose weight, regardless of your genetic makeup." There are about 100 genes that are now connected to being overweight and obese, and these genes also play a major role in the breakdown of calories and store fat. However, the study, published in the BMJ, concluded that blaming your DNA for the extra pounds you struggle to lose is just not right.

Obesity-related genes basically explain about 3 percent of the difference among each person's body mass index (BMI) which is the measure of weight and height. It was found that among those, the one that one that caught the researchers attention are those that have the strongest link to weight among whites and African American. Newser reported that in 2007, it was first identified that a specific form of the FTO gene, involved managing the body either by burning calories for heating or turning them into fat, has been linked with being heavier.

Mathers and his team wanted to find out how much the genetic variant has affected weight by examining how the gene might block or help people's ability to shed some extra pounds. They also wanted to find out if having the obesity-related gene would make losing weight harder compared to those that do not have the weight-gaining form of the gene.

Researchers reviewed eight random studies involving 9,563 adults and found that people with the obesity gene answered "just as well to weight loss interventions as everyone else," the lead researcher said. Mathers also told Time, "You have to bite the bullet, and eat a bit less, or be more active [to maintain a healthy weight]."

His team found that the response to weight loss method for people with the obesity-related gene was similar with gender, age, and ethnicity used as the control. The authors wrote: "this is an important finding for the development of effective weight loss interventions in the context of the global epidemic of obesity." They also added saying that future public health methods to manage obesity should point toward inducing long-term lifestyle modification behaviors, especially when it comes to eating patterns and physical activities because they believe that this will help losing weight become more successful despite having the FTO gene, reported Mail Online.

Meanwhile, some companies offer weight loss plans designed based on a person's DNA profile, and these findings show that plans like this "may not pay off, at least in the short term." 

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