Do you have the fat gene?

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With 11.4 million Australians apparently having a BMI that would classify them as being obese, carrying excess weight is a major health concern. But what if you simply have the ‘fat’ gene?

The most common ‘fat’ gene is the Fat-mass and Obesity Associated Gene – otherwise known as FTO – a protein encoded on chromosome 16. Everyone has it, but some people have a version which means they are predisposed to having a higher BMI and experiencing weight gain.

Those who have FTO variations don’t respond to the appetite hormones released from the gut and fat cells, which send a signal to the brain that you’ve had enough to eat. Basically your brain tells you you’re still hungry even though you’ve had enough to sustain your body.

That doesn’t mean you should give up trying to lose weight. In fact, scientists have realised that if you have the FTO variation, you’re actually 30 per cent more likely to be able to combat your obesity through exercise than those who have the standard FTO gene.

Also, your gut bacteria could actually help alter the signal your brain receives from the FTO. Christensenellaceae is one of a network of microbes that live in your gut and is linked to your BMI. If you have a high level, as one in 10 people do, then you’re less likely to put on weight. The positive news is that there are certain foods you can eat to encourage the growth of this good bacteria. A varied diet and one with high fibre will increase the likelihood of the good bacteria flourishing at the expense of the bad ones.

A Mediterranean-style diet – without pizza and pasta – is recommended: think artichokes, full-fat yoghurt and even a little dark chocolate now and again.

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Written by Debbie McTaggart


Total Comments: 9
  1. 0

    🙂 🙂 If I had the Fat Gene it would die of STARVATION 🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. 0

    SOunds like another ‘get out of jail free’ excuse to me.

    How many will fail to accept 1) everyone has this gene and 2) that ‘ if you have the FTO variation, you’re actually 30 per cent more likely to be able to combat your obesity through exercise than those who have the standard FTO gene?’

    A gene indicates a genetic tendency toward something not a sure indication it will happen. For the vast majority, obesity is caused by ingesting more than your body can use plus a general lack of exercise. A very small minority have genuine physiological/medical reasons for their weight. It is just so much easier to hope for a convenient excuse. First it was ‘big bones’ (debunked) now it is ‘my genes’ – just don’t mention the exercise solution!

    • 0

      Okay kss, how about now I”M a diabetic, and i like exercising, but i can’t because i’m also an asthmatic, and unforuntately now in this day and age, there is so much Pollution about, I can’t breath whilsts trying to just walk.
      It does make it hard, and to top it off My back is so stuffed its NO funny.
      It be good now if they could Stop the Pollution, making life unbearable for the asthmatics of this world, and perhaps some us could learn to get back to normality!!
      But I can’t really see that happening any time too soon??
      Cause its all about the MIGHTY dollars, and not much more.
      Its such a vicious cycle 🙁

    • 0

      OOOps i MENt to say Bearalbe for the asthmatics. 🙂

  3. 0

    Watch any movie from the 1940-1980. Not just the actors the people in the background. Then get out your photo albums – we were thin. Even the people who we thought were over weight have nothing on us today.
    There are so many reasons for our obesity crisis however its extraordinarily hard to find food that hasn’t been added to, modified or artificially fed. Then add our need to drive a car everywhere to the “large store” shopping that is too far away to walk to, then jobs that require long commutes and sitting until we are mentally drained and you have the trifecta.
    Yes, we all have different builds but no we should not look the way we do as a society.
    I would really love to get stuck into what school children are fed.
    Fix the school canteens – no flavoured milk, fruit juices or soda drinks unless they are made onsite
    Stop chocolate and cake fun raisers
    Stop parents from bringing in birthday cakes to school.(i.e. feeding other people’s children)
    Stop special mufti sugar drink and fatty sausage sizzle days.
    Stop teachers giving children sugar rewards

    and ….make it legislation that restaurants offer at least one healthy non fried/sugared meal for children.

    If we don’t teach the children they will never know what is good and bad food. We don’t seem to be able to educate the parents so let’s start in the schools.

    • 0

      There is a sign at the zoo “Don’t keep the animals” for good reason.
      I wish people would stop offering other people’s children treats – in the shops, at their relative’s homes, at school etc.
      Ask first – but don’t ask where the children can hear otherwise it makes the carer sound like an ogre when they say no.

    • 0

      That sign must be on the Snake Enclosure ? When you’ve finished stroking them put them back 🙂

  4. 0

    personally i don’t think its got anything to do with a “fat”gene.
    I mean i started off normally.
    but by the time i got to the age of 5yrs i was like a little budda, and it had nothing to do with the “fat” gene!
    My mother and father came from germany after the war, they worked in the ammunitons factorys there. I had an older sister who was born there, and died there at a very tender age.
    and when my mother and father came here, they were not fat, and none of my relatives are.
    Yet they live on potatoes and bread, and cheese and sour cream!
    But in my case, after my mother and father arrived here, i was born not long after, and my father used to always growl at me to make sure my plate was left clean with no found left on it, and of course regularly i would go with him to the local Milk bar, and i was allow any sweets i wanted. Any wonder i ended up a little budda, and in later years found it hard to shake off 🙁
    As i have a step sister(from different father)as my father died, and i actually started to lose weight there after.
    But my sister was always skinny, the thing is she was NEVER force fed! and there lays the answer.
    Together with emotional upheavals, and i believe the genetical modified foods available, i think they all have a role to play. Plus Now as i diebetic, i find many foods are fortified with sugar. they would have to be, other wise they would go off!!!
    And then the POOR companies would lose much money wouldn’t they?
    Well okay that just be my opinion, perhaps others may disagree, and for every person, i beleive there is always a different problem to this Very Big problem we over weight ppl seem to have.



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