Do people develop overweight and obesity based on their genes?

How does genetics affect weight?

People who are overweight are often linked to poor genetics. Human genetics determine a number of attributes, such as the color of the eyes or the shape of the ears. So far, however, it has not been clear how much genetics affects the body's ability to gain or lose weight.

In their current investigation, the scientists at King’s College London found that genetics have only a very slight influence on our weight. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Nature Genetics".

Genetics have minimal impact on weight gain

Many people have weight problems today. Through a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet, more and more men and women in western countries are developing obesity or obesity. Often, those affected simply put their weight on bad genetics. However, according to the latest results from the study, genetics appear to have a minimal impact on weight gain.

786 participants were examined in the study

In their research, the experts at King’s College London wanted to find out how the human intestine processes fat and distributes it throughout the body. To this end, the doctors examined 786 participants in a study of twins.

What did the analysis of the stool samples reveal?

The scientists analyzed the stool samples from the test subjects and successfully identified biomarkers that indicated an increase in visceral fat around the waist. After analyzing the molecules in the stool samples, they concluded that genetics only partially affect weight gain, whereas environmental factors play a much larger role. Only 17.9 percent of the processes in the intestine could be associated with genetic factors. In contrast, certain other factors, such as nutrition, but 67.7 percent of the processes in the intestine, explain the scientists.

Changes in the intestinal environment can affect weight

The results of the current study could play a crucial role in the development of treatments for obesity in the future, says study author Dr. Jonas Zierer from King’s College London. People can simply change their intestinal environment to combat their weight problems. So obesity is strongly related to changeable factors, such as nutrition and microbes in the intestine, Zierer explains.

Diet has the greatest impact on weight

This cohort study of twins showed how important it is for health and weight that thousands of different substances from human gut microorganisms are produced from the food we eat, says Professor Tim Spector from King’s College London. Knowing that our weight can be largely controlled by our food rather than our genes is great news and opens up many opportunities for using food as a kind of medicine, the expert adds. (as)

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