We are what our genes make us! This statement is true to an extent and has scientific proof to back the claim – color of our eyes, hair, or skin; height one attains are all linked to the genes we carry. Studies have shown a link between genetics and various diseases like cancer, diabetes, hypertension, etc. The science behind linking DNA to disease is that we are predisposed to having a certain disease if our parents or forefathers were carriers of it.
Can genes also hold the key to our waistline? Research claims that about 43% of the general population has a genetic predisposition to obesity. This in any way doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed to be overweight. What it means is that there is a tendency to put on weight easily and a little harder to lose it, thus making it that much more frustrating to lose those last few inches or kilos.
Research published in PLOS Genetics journal claims that when DNA of 1,622 thin volunteers, 1,985 severely obese people, and a normal-weight control group of 10,433 was compared, they found sample size of thin people having predisposed tendency to not gain weight owing to their genetic makeup.
“Using genome-wide genotype data, we show that persistent healthy thinness, similar to severe obesity, is a heritable trait,” the researchers concluded.
Body weights have risen dramatically in the last 25 years with 30% of world population bordering on obese. Multiple factors such as behavior, environment, genetics, and sleep patterns may have an effect in causing people to be overweight or obese. For example, a person living in a congested city may not have sidewalks or parks to exercise – this will affect how he/ she will look at his/ her body’s exercise needs and the decisions pertaining to it.
And if we add genomic interaction to this community or culture limitation then the impact is felt on the weight as a trait. A person already prone to obesity may become limited with the choice of exercise due to the environment around him, which will in turn affect his genomic wellness. Similarly, a person exposed to eating heavy meals during the evening or consuming his last meal before sunset as part of his growing up culture will have effects on his weight management related to his food intake habits in combination with genomics.
Nearly 50 % of our genomic wellness is heritable (predefined by the genes). But the remaining 50% is under our control. So how do we exercise that control?
The first step is to understand the metabolic requirements of the body. These can be best defined by understanding how the genes and the environment (both external and habitual) are interacting.
Typically, families show a high correlation in weight tendency as both the genes and environment for family members are similar in nature. While genes cannot be changed, BUT we can always modulate the environment to allow for more favorable interactions between the two.
If we are unable to lose weight, even when we reduce calorie intake and increase exercise for a long duration of time or we have been overweight for most of our life, or our parents or family members are obese – then these could be considered signs of heritable obesity.
Genealogical tests will help identify what role the genes are playing in our weight loss journey and take charge of what we can control or change. Holistic wellness can then be achieved with weight loss plans that will help in keeping weight in check sustainably.
Many of us are genetically prone to become obese and losing weight can be more of a challenge, but exercise and diet can still be a huge help in lowering that risk. Using DNA testing for weight loss is a great starting point to analyze the risk and predisposition. Genetic discoveries and recommendations will then help guide us on choosing right eating habits, right exercise and then right holistic wellness based on our DNA.
We believe that you deserve to manage and achieve holistic wellness. We are there to support your journey of true self-discovery through our one-time DNA wellness test!