I’m slightly weary of how the mainstream media will present the latest findings in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinoloy & Metabolism.
To summarize, researchers at University College in London and the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, discovered that children with the FTO gene – a gene associated with obesity -- “are less likely to have their appetite ‘switched off’ by eating.”
Furthermore, “previous studies have shown that adults with two copies of the FTO gene are on average 3kg [6.6 lbs] heavier, and individuals with a single copy are on average 1.5kg [3.3 lbs] heavier, than those without the gene.”
What is important to keep in mind with this study and others similar to it is that the presence of this gene simply indicates “susceptability to overeating.”
In other words, making smart food choices is crucial, no matter what your genetic makeup. A predisposition should not be turned into a self-fulfilling life sentence.
I hope you are starting to see how a lot of the topics discussed on this blog feed into each other (pardon the pun.)
Think about the following.
It’s a known fact that when supersize portions are placed in front of us, we are likely to eat until the last bite simply because the food is there, inches away from our hands, eyes, and mouth.
Restaurant entrées containing upwards of 2,000 calories are not unheard of these days.
Place that factor within the framework of someone with an altered hunger mechanism and I'm sure you see the problem: they are even more likely to finish their plate, whether it packs in 800 or 3,000 calories.
Individual choices do play an important role, though. Regardless of their genetic predisposition, anyone can choose to accompany their meal with a 150 calorie side dish of brown rice or a 400 calorie side dish of onion rings.
Genes in and of themselves do not make anyone obese. It is the combination of dietary patterns and behaviors along with these genetic conditions that ultimately determine the outcome.
After all, our genes are the same now as 50 years ago, when obesity rates in the United States were approximately 65% lower than they are today.
Here's hoping an overeager newscaster won't soon be stating, "Why some people just can't help being obese! All that and more tonight at eleven."