You know how they say your parents are to blame for most of your psychological issues? Well, the same might actually apply for your physiological state too (kind of). The genetic factors contributing to fat storage and weight loss could span from gender to what your mother ate while she was pregnant – bizarre and totally out of your control, but still relatively true. If you’re struggling to lose weight or wondering why your weight sits where it does, have a read through and see if you can apply to the common causes your own body.
Every person has their individual DNA and RNA sequence. Naturally that means our bodies are all different, with varying response-mechanisms and predispositions to certain conditions or diseases. The FTO Gene is a genetic variant that research has shown in linked to body fat composition (BMI) and obesity. In fact, “1 in 6 people have a variant of FTO that makes them 70% more likely to be obese” - AGS. This gene is likely to have a part in our satiability and our bodies’ conversion and storage of fat. Basically, it can prevent you from feeling full, often leading to over eating and potentially cause obesity. But it also prevents thermogenesis – the body’s process of turning energy into heat. When this process is affected, the energy-storing cells convert energy into white fat – hence the potential for obesity. Luckily we can test for this gene, so find the right genetic testing group for you.
Whoopi! If you’re female, you are genetically predisposed to retain the fat you have. There is nothing more annoying than seeing how quickly men can shed the pounds while you slave at the gym and munch on salad leaves for months at a time. There are a number of reasons men have an edge when it comes to weight loss.
Firstly, men naturally have more muscle mass than women, and women have a higher body fat percentage than men. Fat tissue burns fewer calories than muscle tissue when you’re are rest. As a result, men naturally have a significantly higher metabolic rate, meaning they burn fat more efficiently right from the start.
Where you store fat also depends on gender. Men, you’re not strangers to the midsection roll. But even when you’re carrying, you’ve got the advantage. Women typically store excess fat around the hips and buttocks, but abdominal fat tissue is more actively burned when your body is in need of energy.
If you are struggling to lose weight, a good place to start is determining your metabolic functions. A lower resting metabolic rate means your body uses fewer calories to maintain your body while resting. Athletes often have a high resting metabolic rate, burning calories even while they’re doing nothing. Good metabolic efficiency means your body uses more fat stores for energy while exercising. Metabolic inefficiency is often where the disappointment lies – you train and train with minimal results because your body is not burning the fat resource it has. The problem comes in as we age – after 50 our metabolism and nutrient absorption slows down naturally, and menopause or adropause kick in. If you’ve always had a slower metabolism, the compounded impact of everything slowing down could easily result in unusual and undesired weight-gain.
Some studies, although still in early stages of research, suggest that eating a healthy, moderate-fat diet while pregnant will set up the development of a child’s weight and health – regardless of the mother’s weight throughout the pregnancy. We’re not saying your mother set you up, but your diet in utero could well have impacted your development as an adult.
In the same vain, your diet as a toddler could affect how easily you gain weight as an adult. Research has shown that what we eat as children affects the activation of certain genes, in that what we eat also determines how our bodies use and store nutrients.
So how do we manage weight as we age?
Body weight is proving to be a complex matter with so many contributing factors emerging as research continues. It’s important that we try to understand our bodies as best we can – not only for weight management, but also to manage our health as we get older. Eat healthy foods, avoid be conscious of over-eating and try to squeeze in some exercise every week. Your genes are what they are, but most often you are what you eat.