Is your waistline at risk from the notorious ‘fat gene’?
While the relationship between genetics and weight gain is complex, no genes appear to have such a direct impact on our obesity risk than FTO.
Nicknamed the ‘fat gene’, certain variants of the FTO gene have been linked to increased appetite, greater cravings for high calorie foods, and an increased risk of being overweight.
The gene is thought to, in part, shape the way our brain responds to food through the activity of hormones; namely ghrelin and leptin.
Ghrelin - the hunger hormone - is released by the stomach and small intestine to make us feel hungry and promote food intake. Leptin - the satiety hormone - is released to signal that we are full and to suppress our appetite.
People who carry risk variants of the FTO gene have been found to experience distorted ghrelin and leptin activity, making them feel that they can eat more and for longer.
As a result, carriers of two copies of a specific FTO risk variant have been found to be 1.67x more likely to be obese than non-carriers.
Due to the wide-ranging influence of the FTO gene, this trait places all FitnessGenes members into one of five possible trait classifications:
Average weight gain
Above average weight gain
Increased weight gain
All five trait classifications include a collection of personalised lifestyle, nutrition and exercise-related actions to help our members manage their appetite and total calorie intake.
One regularly saved action is for members to set aside 20-30 minutes to eat their meals. Eating slower and without distraction has been shown to increase satiety and reduce the risk of overconsuming at meal-times.
Improving sleep hygiene is also highly recommended for those at high risk of weight gain as poor sleep quality and regulation can have a detrimental impact on appetite regulation.
Download an example Vitamin C level trait report to preview the insights and actions that you may receive.
*Not personalised - DNA analysis or DNA upload required.
For a complete introduction to the FTO gene, ghrelin and leptin, and how the genetic risk of obesity may be overcome, read the obesity risk (FTO) science blog.
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