Genetics is known to influence food cravings, with carriers of a particular version of the FTO gene seemingly biologically wired to eat more and feel hungrier sooner.


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 obesity-susceptibility genes recently identified, there is one gene that has a particularly strong association: FTO. If you carry just one copy of the A allele, you are 1.3 times more likely to be obese, and someone carrying two A alleles is over 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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