In my last post, I touched upon the factors which were to a degree under our control for optimizing the weight-loss process. Let’s dig a bit deeper into the first of these:
Genetics – survival of the fittest dictates that those with an optimal genetic makeup for their particular environment will have a survival advantage over those who may not.
Therefore, if your genetic heritage derives from a population coded to survive famine, you will have a better survival rate in times of famine than someone who has a less desirable genome for those conditions.
However, if you take the same genetics, and transplant them to an environment where food is now plentiful and often high in calories, the individual with the “optimal” genome will now find it harder to lose weight as their body is more efficient in the use of stored calories. Sounds pretty hard-coded, right?
Not quite…exercise, for one, can make a significant difference. Vigorous exercise, that which causes a six-fold increase in the metabolic rate (running 4-6 mph as an example) will cause more efficient fat-burning, no matter what the genetics dictate.
High-intensity interval training can also improve the efficiency of fat burning and deposition of lean tissue. In addition, persons carrying a gene known as FTO actually have the desire to eat more high-calorie foods, thus carry more fat.
In addition, more of the fat in these folks is white fat, rather than brown or beige fat (much more efficient in being burned as calories for fuel). Other gene SNP’s can dictate similar processes for protein and fat metabolism.
So yes, while genetics does dictate how your body handles fat and stores types of fat, knowledge is indeed power. Knowing your genome can guide you towards choosing your foods and exercise regimen more wisely, to get the very most out of the cards you were dealt…a powerful tool in your weight-loss arsenal.
Dr. Eric M. Kusher