The short answer to that is, yes, the genetics that you are born with can have an impact on your body weight, and impact your weight loss plans. There has been research done that indicates that the resultant weight loss or gain, however, is a combination of both nature and nurture- that is, it’s both genetic and environmental. These same studies have shown that twenty five to forty percent of the differences we see in the amount of body fat a person has, can be linked to their genes. The problem with this though is that it is in only extremely infrequent and rare cases that these genetics cause obesity. Genetic markers can in fact influence the weight gain itself, but it won’t directly cause it- this happens when a person lives in, or grows up in an environment that actually supports over eating or a less physically active way of life.
In the past ten years, the studies on just how much genetics impacts body weight has become much more sophisticated- as it has all come out, it has shown that this is not as simple as it was once considered and this is a complex, multi faceted issue. There are actually only a couple of exceptions where one genetic mutation results in the more severe cases of what is known as morbid obesity. At the same time, though, there are a multitude (In the hundreds) of genes that effect one’s susceptibility towards overeating, and as other genes come into the mix, this enhances that vulnerability.
These are not the only factors, though. Most current research shows that the environmental conditions of the fetus during pregnancy will greatly impact weight gain or loss, as they grow older. These studies show direct correlation to high and low birth weight and an increased risk for being overweight or even obese as they age. Where the genetics comes in, is actually more behavioral. This is not to say that the behaviors are not genetic, however, not at all, the most current research does show that the influence of these genetic factors may be what causes weight related behaviors. Different food preferences, physical activity, and right down to the way we eat- these things are all linked to genetics.
In short, what all of these studies are indicating is, is that if you feel that your weight gain is predominately due to genetics, you may not be entirely wrong. However, it is generally in the patterns where you find the influence of genetics on your own body weight. All of these developments are actually a very hopeful look into what may be able to happen for those who have had long term weight related issues, because, this shows that the behaviors, though yes, genetically predisposed, are correctable. For many, this comes as a wonderful sort of revelation because it does mean that they are not held at the mercy of issues that are completely beyond their control.
Source by Richard Bragg, M.D.