The Role of Genetics in Weight and Why One-Size-Fits-All Diets Don’t Work – Part 1

Part 1: Do Genes Make You Fat?

Genes. We all have them. A gene is, simply put, a unit of heredity transferred from a parent to offspring that determines some characteristic of the offspring.

There are variations in genes that change how the gene expresses traits, such as hair or eye color. Genes can also determine how tall you will be, the right diet for you, and how likely you are to be overweight.

We get our genes from our parents—one from mom and one from dad. A genetic mutation is an adaptation that is less prevalent in the population, like red hair. Some genetic mutations have a significant impact on health, weight and longevity and some do not.

Although genetics may suggest you are more inclined to be overweight, it’s important to remember that genetics simply express your potential to be overweight. They are not a determinant that you will be overweight.

From the Human Genome Project, we now know a lot about genes and how they play a role in the body especially in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and diet.

If you have been struggling to lose weight, the secret might be found in a gene-based diet. Genetic studies show that our food preferences are in part determined by genetics. In three studies, researchers found that genetic variations have a strong impact on how people perceive food tastes. This is why what tastes good to you may not taste good to the next person.

In a two-year study of 191 obese people, when taste preferences based on genetic variants were taken into consideration and diets were tailored to those preferences, study participants lost 33 percent more weight than participants who were on a normal diet not tailored to genetics.

A gene-based diet that is tailored to your genetic predispositions, such as metabolism and taste preferences may help you lose more weight and keep it off.

In upcoming blogs, we will look at the “fat genes,” how to find the right diet for your genes, and how genetics play a role in the value of exercise and weight loss outcome.

Betty Murray, CN, IFMCP, CHC is a Certified Nutritionist & Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner with the Institute for Functional Medicine, founder of the Dallas-based functional medicine clinic Living Well Dallas and Executive Director of the the Functional Medicine Association of North Texas. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutrition for autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, MTHFR and weight loss.  You can find her book “Cleanse: Detox Your Body, Mind & Spirit” on Amazon here.

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