Your genes influence your appetite, satiety (feelings of fullness) and food cravings. Research suggests that carriers of a particular version of the FTO gene are biologically hardwired to eat more, feel hungrier sooner and be more responsive to fatty foods.


Global population distribution:

Source: 1000 Genome Project. Global averages for both sexes

FTO: AA

14%

FTO: TA

40%

FTO: TT

46%

More about FTO

The FTO gene

Among recently identified obesity-susceptibility genes, there is one gene that has a particularly strong association: FTO. For this reason, the FTO gene is often dubbed 'the obesity gene'.

If you carry just one copy of the A allele, you are 1.3 times more likely to be obese. If you carry two A alleles, you are roughly 1.6 times more likely to be obese.

In one meta-analysis on over 38,000 people, the 16% of people with the AA genotype weighed 3kg more versus those without the risk allele. The A risk allele has been associated with obesity in multiple different backgrounds, including Caucasian, African American, Mexican, Japanese, Scandinavian, and Han Chinese.

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