A gene involved with obesity known as the Fat Mass and Obesity-Associated (FTO) gene and nicknamed the “FATSO” gene, has been discovered to make us pack on fat when it shows up in our bodies. 1 in 6 adults carry the gene variant and those who carry this gene weigh on average 7 pounds (over 3kg) more than people who don’t. This makes them genetically predisposed to obesity. FTO affects weight by influencing eating behavior. It is expressed specifically by increasing energy intake and decreasing the satiety response. In other words it makes you eat more while masking your satisfaction button. So should individuals with these “FATSO” gene resign themselves to obesity? Certainly not!
Due to the interestingly high incidence of the FTO gene among Amish populations an earlier study of some adults in an Amish community was conducted. The study found that those carrying the “FATSO” gene needed three to four hours of moderate activity daily to beat the gene. The adults in that study did things like brisk walking, housecleaning and gardening. However, in a more recent study, 752 teenagers, who had their blood tested for the gene variant, wore monitoring devices for a week during waking hours to measure their physical activity. The observation was that exercising an hour or more daily made a big difference for the teens who were genetically predisposed to obesity due to the gene. For those who got in one hour exercise daily, their waist measurements, body mass index scores and body fat were the same, on average, as the other teenagers with regular genes. However, the teens with the gene variant had more body fat, bigger waists and higher BMI if they got less than an hour of exercise daily. The results were similar for boys and girls. The foregoing observation suggests that one hour daily spent exercising can be enough for teenagers at risk. It was noted that the teens in the new study may have exercised more vigorously than the Amish adults but the lesson here is clear: We are not slaves to our genes!
There are other ways to outsmart the “FATSO” Gene. One way is to limit your portion sizes. Another is by avoiding high-GI carbohydrates, high-calorie foods and processed foods. This is because those with two copies of the gene are found to lose weight more effectively with a high-protein diet; therefore a diet filled with fibre, vegetables and lean meat is a winner; You may also try fat burners . Finally, practice mindful eating. It helps to put down your fork between each mouthful and try to savor the flavors in the food you’re eating. Remember that the way we move is directly related to how our bodies respond to the food we eat. We all need to move to have a healthy body but if you do have the “FATSO” gene then you need to move more by getting at least one hour of vigorous daily exercise. Now you’ve got a trusted way to beat your “FATSO” gene, it’s time to show those genes who is boss!
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The fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene: Obesity and beyond? By Martin E.Hess, Jens C.Brüning