Can we inherit fat?

We have all heard that we obtain certain traits of our parents. Is being fat one of these?

Can we inherit fat?

Many take it as a sentence: we are fat because we have fat genes. No matter how much diet is made, you can not fight against genetics. If overweight predominates in your home, you will be a victim of it. But to what extent is this true? Do we inherit genes of fat?

Leer en español: ¿Podemos heredar la gordura?

On the existence of genes of "fat" can be said that if there are. WebMd points out that there are genes that can lead to overweight problems. According to the publication, a gene called FTO is partly to blame. Researchers have found that people with certain differences in this gene have a 20 to 30% chance of being obese. There are other genes that cause people to naturally accumulate more fat. The problem is to indicate what percentage of the fault has the genetic part in overweight, being obesity a multifactorial problem that can include DNA, environment and behavior.

Obese genes

The publication by Dr. Weil also points to a study conducted by the Children's Hospital of Boston that found a genetic variation that prevented animals from burning fat effectively, and that this may be related to obese people. They also name how the FTO gene can increase cravings for sweets and high-fat foods in humans.

The publication of Health of the University of Harvard exposes that more than 400 genes are involved in the causes of overweight or obesity, but that very few are those that really play a role of importance. This cellular information acts in a different way, regulating the appetite, the sensation of satiety, the metabolism, distribution of fat, cravings of certain foods and even the way we use food to relieve stress. Research indicates that genes account for only 25% of the predisposition to overweight, while for others the genetic influence is as high as 70% to 80%. For researchers, those people who have been obese most of their lives, have fathers with significant overweight and can not lose weight despite maintaining a low-calorie diet and increasing physical activity for many months, are in the group who suffers most from the influence of genes and overweight.

What has not been determined is what percentage of these people are affected by the genes and, as was said at the beginning, obesity is a multifactorial problem. Having inheritance or a genetic predisposition for overweight is not a judgment.

TIMES magazine cites that more than 9,000 people who were involved in genetic studies where they were assigned a variety of weight loss methods, found that they were not influenced by the "obesity" genes (specifically the FTO). What is great news for those who think that their genes are to blame for their current state.

Habits and behavior

If we talk about inheritances that do not leave anything positive, beyond blaming the genes we could point to the lifestyle. Those people who follow the same unhealthy lifestyles of parents will have more tendency to overweight. For many, we must attack the root of the problem as more people become obese by lifestyle than by the influence of their genes.

Genetics plays a role, but the truth is that what you are is determined by the way life is lived, re-comments WebMD. It is essential to adopt healthy habits that involve all members of the family: encourage exercise, cut calories from junk food, include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Fish, lean meats, beans, eggs and nuts are also good choices.

Our genetic framework can not be changed, but we can manage how we move, act and the choices we make in the environment that surrounds us. The habits of healthy eating, as well as traditions in the family, are the legacy that we must leave of inheritance to the generations that precede us.


Latin American Post | Clementine Ramos

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

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