Your Genes Aren’t to Blame, Researchers Find

You might blame your genes for weighing more and increasing your risk of obesity, but you can no longer blame your genes for failing to lose weight, researchers have found.

Those who carry the FTO gene (a fat mass and obesity-associated protein) are on average 6.6 pounds (3 kg) heavier than others. However, according to researchers at Newcastle University in the UK, genes matter very little in the ability to lose weight. In a meta-analysis published in the journal BMJ, researchers reviewed eight separate randomized, controlled trials, including over 9,000 participants. They concluded that those carrying the implicated gene had no more trouble losing weight than those who didn’t.

What can we learn from this?

“…we cannot export grit, conscientiousness, planning, or determination. We cannot put all our hope in some gadget, system, gimmick, or quick fix scheme. Instead, when it comes to weight loss, and most things, we need to be inwardly motivated, believe in ourselves, and be ready to give what it takes for the long haul.”~ Professor Mathers

The good news for those with FTO genes

As Professor Mathers explains: “We were excited to find that people with the risk version of FTO respond just as well to weight loss interventions as everyone else.

“This is important news for people trying to lose weight as it means that diet, physical activity or drug-based weight loss plans will work just as well in those who carry the risk version of FTO.”

“For public health professionals, it means that the adverse effects of the FTO genotype on weight gain are not an impediment to weight loss interventions.”

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Newcastle University Published Sept 20, 2016, Retrieved October 3, 2016 

FTO genotype and weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 9,563 individual participant data from eight randomized controlled trials. BMJ 2016;354:i4707