CAN YOUR GENETICS DETERMINE THE SUCCESS OF YOUR WEIGHT-LOSS GOAL?
Let’s cut to the chase here, because in a word, yes, they can, and do!As you will already know, we are all made up of our own unique DNA and as such, each possess a different set of genotypes within each organism. A genotype can be defined as ‘the genetic constitution of an individual organism’
Within this and more specifically with regards to exercise and nutrition, there are then several different categories in which our genotypes differ, which we can and in turn, test for. Some of these include, our recovery speed, aerobic potential, power - endurance ratio, injury risk, whether we are lactose intolerant and our carbohydrate / fat response.
As such, and again in the context of an individual's exercise or nutritional goal, it is then unquestionable that our bodies will react and adapt in different ways.
Since this post is about our genetical effect on weight management, we will discuss those that are linked with exactly that.
So most of us know by now that when trying to manage weight, the correct macronutrient ratio is key. There are literally 1000’s of diets out there, most of which will either promote a low calorie, low fat or low carbohydrate plan. Each and everyone of these can bring you success. But as you will probably already know, one plan may not bring two people the same level of success.
Although there are of course other varying factors around why this might be, our genetics certainly play an influencing part in our response to the macronutrient split we adopt. This is understood better and further highlighted by taking a look at the FTO (Fat mass and obesity) gene that each of us possess.
There are three different allele's (types) associated to this gene (AA, TT and AT) and out of those, we all have just one. As the name suggests, the FTO gene is all about a person’s fat mass and by understanding it, we can review each of the three allele responses to different macronutrients, and in turn, can predict their effect on a persons obesity levels and fat mass.
Here's where it gets interesting (promise)
So if you carry the AA version of the gene and you consume a high proportion of fat in your diet then you are 2.5x more likely to become obese. However if the same person switched and consumed a high carbohydrate diet and low fat with this version then you are less than 1x more likely to become obese. That’s a huge and significant variant! Furthermore, if that person then consumed a diet specifically low in carbs, they are 3x more likely to become obese. So a diet promoting low carbohydrates for anyone with this type of gene could be catastrophic!
Compare this to a person with a TT version of this gene and you will see that the mix between fat and carbohydrate response on obesity is even throughout, so you could argue that anyone with this type of gene would be able to control their weight through an effective macronutrient split without so many complications.
So when we look at the varying success rates of diets it is clear to see from this why you cannot possibly expect the same result as the person next to you, unless of course you carry the same allele version of the FTO gene. Even then, there are of course other factors to consider but these are for another day. Neither does it mean that if you have a AA version of this gene that you will become obese. It simply means you have a greater chance of becoming obese IF you do not control your macronutrient split properly.
Of course none of this is rocket science, it’s more about understanding what our individual requirements are and having the discipline to keep within range.
It should be said that it’s not to say that you can’t manage a weight-loss goal without this information, of course you can and more often than not, trial and error will help you to discover what either works or doesn’t for you. However, there can be no question that this is a very handy tool if you’re looking for complete accuracy and a quicker turnaround.
More than anything, these findings, although not exactly new do highlight how we can be lead down the wrong path with in the increasingly confusing world of fitness and nutrition. The media often tries to sell us a generic and quick fix way of losing weight, but the reality unfortunately is so far away from that.
Find what is right for you, show some commitment to the cause, exercise hard and smart, and watch your health and weight turn-around at a sensible and achievable pace; that would be my advice...