In the past, weight loss strategies have solely revolved around adhering to a specific diet and exercise plan. However, scientists are discovering that lifestyle habits are not the only factors affecting how we lose and gain weight.
Genetic traits can predispose individuals to certain physical and emotional attributes. A trait is an observable manifestation that is determined by the genes you inherit. Some examples of traits include hair color, blood type, and even the presence or absence of a genetic disease. Genetic traits can also affect how your body gains and loses weight. Below, we outline four genetic traits that have a known association with weight loss and weight gain.
Metabolism is a collection of reactions in our bodies that is responsible for breaking down the foods that we eat and supplying our cells with energy in order to perform vital tasks. This process is essential to keeping us alive and occurs all the time, not only when we eat.
Resting metabolism describes the amount of energy we burn when the body is not in motion. Even when we rest, our bodies need energy for vital functions such as breathing, blood circulation, and brain activity. Some individuals have a higher resting metabolism rate than others, meaning that they can eat slightly more and maintain their weight without diet or exercise. Individuals who have a lower resting metabolism rate may need to participate in more physical activity in order to maintain their weight.
The World Health Organization defines obesity as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. If both of your parents are or have been obese, you may have a genetic predisposition to this condition. You may be able to prevent obesity by paying attention to the eating habits of your friends and family in addition to participating in a diet and exercise plan that’s right for you.
Weight Regain After Weight Loss
Some individuals are more prone to gaining weight back after they have lost it, while other individuals inherit genes that protect them from regaining lost weight. These tendencies are determined by differences in specific genes that vary from person to person.
Adiponectin is a hormone that is secreted by fat cells and plays a vital role in metabolism. Low amounts of adiponectin in the body put individuals at an increased risk of developing chronic conditions relating to obesity, such as diabetes. Higher levels of adiponectin have been linked to weight loss and overall good health.
Some individuals are genetically predisposed to having low adiponectin. If this is the case, it is possible to eat certain foods that will naturally raise adiponectin levels in the body, such as fish, vegetables, and whole grains. You can also ask your doctor to monitor your adiponectin levels regularly.
How Do You Know If Your Genes Are Inhibiting You From Losing Weight?
Genetic testing for metabolism and other factors associated with weight loss and weight gain provides answers regarding your genetic predispositions. Results are sent directly to your physician and you can work with your doctor to understand what they mean for your health.
Our Genes Do Not Necessarily Determine Our Weight
Inheriting a specific gene for certain genetic traits does not determine the amount of weight you will lose or gain and does not necessarily mean that it will be impossible for you to maintain a healthy weight. In fact, scientists have emphasized the impact of environmental factors in exacerbating genetic predispositions to obesity.
When you understand how the genes you inherit may be affecting your ability to lose weight, you are able to understand how your body is unique, and can use this information to take better control of your health.