Partaking in our favorite dishes and comfort food is one of the most pleasurable things in the world. The flip side to this, however, is that dieting is one of the hardest things to do. Just ask any of the two-thirds of Americans who are considered overweight and the one-third who are obese.
Many will agree that one of the great mysteries is that there seem to be people who can eat anything they want and not gain an ounce. For the unfortunate majority of Americans who are either overweight or obese, eating a small portion already adds to their weight.
Why is this so? Well, your genes may provide a clue to this mystery as genetics seem to play a role in determining a person’s weight.
What Role Do Our Genes Play?
A study that compares the DNA of thin volunteers with severely obese volunteers concluded that being thin or severely obese is a heritable trait. This means that the likelihood of you being thin, of normal weight, overweight, or obese may increase if this is a trait that runs in your family.
There are hundreds of genes that seem to affect weight gain, thus resulting in being overweight or obese. Of these hundreds, however, only a handful of specific genes seem to make the most impact. These are the genes that affect the level of appetite, level of fullness (satiety), body composition, metabolism, food cravings which are linked to our body’s way of coping with stress.
So… How Much Influence Do Those Genes Have On Our Weight?
Sadly, there is no exact figure that accounts for the influence of our genes on how much we will weigh. However, some research on weight disorders suggests that genetic influence could be anywhere from 25% for some people while it could be as high as 70% to 80% for others.
Beyond the numbers, a more crucial determinant of how much genes affect your weight gain or loss are the following:
If your BMI score has consistently been above 30 for most of your life starting from childhood until you reach adulthood, being obese is not just a phase that you go through. This may mean that you are on the upper end of the scale, nearer the 70% to 80% in terms of genes playing a role in how much you weigh.
Difficulty In Losing Weight Even With Diet And Physical Activity
You have stuck with your New Year’s resolution of losing weight for several months now. But the loss has been negligible and quite frankly, you are disappointed with the results.
If your weight has been influenced by your genes, for the most part, chances are that it will stay that way or the loss will be minimal despite the increased physical activity and a low-calorie diet. This means that genetics has more to do with your weight than a poor diet or lack of exercise.
The Commonality In The Family
During your many family gatherings, do you notice that a significant number of your relatives seem to be on the heavy side? Or maybe you grew up seeing either your father or mother or both struggle with their weight?
Chances are, you are also either overweight or obese. In fact, the likelihood of you becoming obese goes as high as 80% if both your parents are obese.
This does not mean, however, that we are doomed to finding our weight in the range of being overweight to severely obese if members of your family seem to be more on the heavy side of the scale. That’s because while our genes seem to play a role in determining our weight, other factors contribute to this as well such as the lifestyle that we lead and our sleep patterns.
Many Other Factors
Of course, there are factors other than genes that affect your weight loss goals. One of these may be the availability of food and your tendency to binge such as at parties or during the holidays. Who can resist, right?
Environmental factors may also play a role in those pounds adding up or being shed off. The lack of sidewalks in the area where you live may deter people from enjoying a walk after a meal. Or the distance between your home to the park where you can indulge in a variety of physical activity may be quite significant, making your visits quite seldom.
While your genes may still play a part in your being overweight or obese, it is not significantly higher than any of the other factors mentioned.
How Do Genes Affect Weight Loss?
Since genes seem to play a role in determining if a person will be thin, overweight, or obese anywhere from 25% to 80%, knowing your genetic makeup may also determine the type of weight-loss method that will work best for you.
If you have been on a strict diet for years and have engaged in regular physical activity to burn off the calories, and have very little weight loss to show for it, it may be a good idea to have your genes analyzed.
Undergoing genetic analysis will enable you to personalize your weight loss journey. This will take into consideration the genes that affect your body’s energy expenditure, level of fullness, appetite, body-fat distribution, and gastric emptying.
Depending on your genes, you can explore going on a diet and exercising. If these do not work, you may explore any of the FDA approved weight loss medications now available in the market. However, do take note that this approach shows a successful outcome for only 30% of those who take it with a significant weight loss of about 10% of your total weight in a year. Another 30% will only show modest improvements in weight loss while another 30% will have minimal to no improvement at all.
Knowing your genetic make up may also prove valuable in the future, when it can determine the effectiveness of weight loss procedures for certain individuals.
Take Control Of Your Weight Loss With Us At Weight Loss Surgery Center
Weight loss is a journey that most Americans should find themselves taking right now because more and more, obesity is becoming a public health issue of concern. It’s not only due to the volume of Americans that are overweight or obese but also because of the significant medical cost which is around $150 billion a year.
Whether it is our genes that contribute significantly to our weight gain or other factors at play, we firmly believe that you can achieve success in your weight loss journey. We do understand how difficult it is to lose weight. We know that people have tried time and again to shed of those pounds.
We at Weight Loss Surgery Center would like to see you achieve your weight loss goals. Reach out to us and let Dr. Davtyan and his team provide you with the right information and services you need.
You deserve to be in the best shape and health possible. Together, we will help you lose weight and get back in the pink of health.
Contact us today to get started!
Posted on behalf of Dr. David G. Davtyan MD, FACS, FICS