Obesity and genetics: Expert shares insights | Health
Obesity is a health condition which involves accumulation of a large amount of fat. Unlike what we think, obesity is not just a cosmetic condition. It, in fact, involves and increases the risk of a lot of other disorders such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and even certain types of cancers. Obesity is caused by a range of factors – it usually involves eating a lot of calories and not burning enough of them which causes the fat to accumulate. Genetics is also one of the causes of obesity. Speaking to HT Lifestyle, Yash Vardhan Swami, Nutritionist, Health and Fitness Expert said, “To gain weight we need to eat more calories than we burn (over time) and to lose weight, we need to eat lesser calories. To control this equation, we can eat more or fewer calories, or we can burn more or fewer calories. We can also do a bit of both.”
Yash Vardhan Swami further added that this formula applies to everyone irrespective of the genetic makeup that they are a part of. “Can our genes make it harder to lose weight? Certain gene variants can make it easier for us to gain weight by making it easier for us to eat more calories than what we burn over time which would lead to weight gain by increasing drive to eat (hunger and cravings) or reducing drive to move/ burn calories (in simple terms, making us lazier).”
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The nutritionist further referred to the presence of the FTO Gene – also known as the obesity gene, FTO gene is Fat Mass and Obesity Associated Gene which raises the risk of obesity. Referring to the part played by the FTO gene, the expert added, “If you have one copy of gene (one parent), there would be a difference of 1.5kgs only (on an average). If you have two copies of the gene (both parents), there would be a difference of 3kgs only (on an average). So, if we are up to 3kgs up, we can blame our genetics. If it’s more, genetics are not to be blamed.” The expert recommended regular exercise which can reduce and slash the effect of the FTO gene and can prevent obesity.
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