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For years, diets called for the elimination of fats, urging us to move towards low-fat alternatives. While, like any other nutrient, overdoing fats can lead to weight gain, cutting out dietary fats need not necessarily result in weight loss. Replacing bad fats (trans fats, saturated fats) with good fats (mono and poly-unsaturated fats) comes with benefits that extend beyond weight loss. This article covers everything there is to know about incorporating monounsaturated fats in your diet. 

Monounsaturated Fatty Acids

Fats are an important component of any meal as they help in absorbing fat-soluble vitamins and minerals.

They also store energy within the body, protect vital organs, and help in muscle movement.

Fats are chains of carbon and hydrogen, and depending on the length of these chains and the arrangement of these atoms, they are classified into different types of fats.

The “mono” in monounsaturated fats represents the single double bond that is found in its chemical structure.

Owing to this chemical structure, monounsaturated fats are often liquid at room temperature.

History Of Fat Consumption

Anthropologists claim that the diet of early humans was more similar to that of modern chimpanzees. They consumed fruits, vegetables, leaves, flowers, and meat. It is believed that meat was first consumed about 2.6 million years ago.  

However, our early ancestors engaged in scavenging food rather than hunting. They consumed the edible portions of flesh that were left behind by the predator. Jesicca Thompson, an anthropologist from Yale University, says that the early humans consumed bone marrow stuck in between the bones of the dead animal rather than the “meat.” The marrows are rich in fat content. Thompson claims that it was around this time that humans started adding fat-rich food to their diet. 

Modern-day diet has monounsaturated fats in vegetable and seed oils. A study confirmed that the first use of vegetable oil, particularly olive oil, was seen around 8000 years ago in the Middle East. But it was in the 1600s when people started making oil from vegetables. 

The 1800s saw the widespread use of vegetable oil as the commonly used whale oil became expensive. In the process of making affordable soaps using cottonseed oil, two industrialists in Cincinnati took the opportunity to introduce it in the food industry. In a few years, animal fats were replaced by vegetable cooking oils, and we can still find them in our kitchens today. 

Studies observed that people from the Middle East or the Mediterranean countries had a lower risk of heart diseases, despite consuming a fat-rich diet. Further investigation showed that their diet included olive oil and other seed oils as their main source of fat and not animal fat. This could mean that the health benefits come from unsaturated fats rather than saturated fats from animals. 

Importance of Monounsaturated Fatty Acids

A study consisting of around 840,000 adults aged 4-30 years found that the consumption of monounsaturated fats reduced the risk of heart disease by 12%, compared to the control group (little to no monounsaturated fats consumption)

Monounsaturated fats improve overall health by:

Sources of monounsaturated fats are olive oil, peanut oil, avocados, nuts, safflower, and sunflower oils.

Is There A Relationship Between Monounsaturated Fats And Weight Gain?

Weight gain is caused when the calories consumed are greater than the calories burnt.

All fats provide the same amount of energy, which is about nine calories per gram.

Based on your lifestyle and your basal metabolic rate, including the right amount of fat in your diet, can help with weight management. 

Even though weight gain/loss is a simple equation of calories in and out, the quality of the food you eat as part of your diet is very important.Some studies have shown that if calorie intake remains the same, diets high in MUFAs lead to weight loss and could even be more effective than a high-carb diet.

What Is The Recommended Amount Of Monounsaturated Fat Intake?

It is recommended to use monounsaturated fats as a replacement to saturated or trans-fats as much as possible.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that fats should be limited to 25 to 30% of the total daily calories; this includes all types of fats.

How Do Genes Affect The Relationship Between Monounsaturated Fats And Weight?

ADIPOQ

This gene is involved in the control of fat metabolism (break down) and insulin sensitivity (how well your body responds to insulin) in the body.

Changes in this gene directly affect anti-diabetic, anti-atherogenic (preventing fatty deposit formation), and anti-inflammatory activities.

The gene codes for a protein called the adiponectin, that is involved in aids fatty acid breakdown. Higher the adiponectin levels, more efficient the fatty acid breakdown.

Decreased adiponectin levels are thought to play a central role in obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Changes in lifestyle, such as incorporating exercise and a following balanced diet, that result in weight loss, can lead to an increase in adiponectin concentration and increase insulin sensitivity.

rs17300539

A study found that a variation rs17300539 in the ADIPOQ gene can lead to a difference in blood adiponectin levels.

Individuals with a G allele have lower blood adiponectin levels when compared to those with an A allele. Carriers of the A allele (AA/AG), therefore, had lower weight, BMI, waist, and hip circumferences.

While considering the monounsaturated fats intake of greater than 13% of the total energy intake, the A allele carriers had a considerably lower BMI compared to GG carriers.

This shows a relationship between the effect of a gene on monounsaturated fats intake and weight.

NR1D1

NR1D1, also known as Rev-ErbA alpha, is present in the liver, skeletal muscles, adipose (fat) tissues, and the brain in mammals.

Adipogenesis is the process by which adipocytes, or fat cells are formed.

Rev-ErbA alpha includes adipogenesis and could be a potential target for novel anti-obesity treatments. 

rs2314339

A study analyzed the association between NR1D1, monounsaturated fats intake, and weight in North American and Mediterranean populations.

People with the AA and AG types had a lower waist circumference and a decreased risk for obesity than people with the GG type.

The A allele occurrence was also significantly low in the ‘abdominally obese’ group.

There was also a significant interaction for obesity with NR1D1 and monounsaturated fats intake in the Mediterranean population.

Individuals with the A allele had higher protection against obesity with diets rich in monounsaturated fats. (>55% of total fat).

PPARG

PPARG is a gene predominantly present in adipose tissue. It plays a role in adipocyte differentiation (converting one type of cell to another), regulating glucose levels, and insulin signal transduction (communication between two cells).

A change in this gene has been studied to play a role in increased sensitivity to insulin and a more favorable lipid profile.

rs1801282

A study recruited overweight subjects between the ages of 20-65 years in southeastern Spain.

They analyzed the subjects as they underwent a treatment program for obesity.

This included analyzing the diets and the number of calories expended during exercise.

They found a gene-diet interaction between PPARG and monounsaturated fats intake.

People who had the G allele (CG/GG) were significantly less obese than those with the C allele (CC) - when monounsaturated fats intake was high (>56% of total fat).

This difference disappeared in low monounsaturated fats diets. 

Overall, in each case, diets with high monounsaturated fats intake (>55% of total fat) resulted in a greater weight loss in individuals.

Food Sources Of MUFA

Most foods have a combination of all types of fats. Foods and oils that have a higher percentage of MUFA are:

Summary

Fats are a necessary component in a balanced diet. However, not all types of fats are healthy. While saturated fats are the ‘bad fats,’ the unsaturated fats are ‘good fats.’ Monounsaturated fats or MUFAs are fats joined by a single bond. They help reduce the risk of health conditions like diabetes and cancer. They also enhance insulin sensitivity and, therefore, play a role in weight management. Several genes ADIPOQNR1D1, and PPARG, mediate how your body responded to MUFAs in terms of weight gain. People with certain types of these genes tend to benefit more from MUFA consumption in terms of weight loss and can include more MUFA-rich foods in their diets. Some food sources of MUFAs include avocados, olive oil, peanuts, and eggs. Even though MUFAs are present in certain animal sources like red meat, their benefits are negated by the saturated fats in them.

Reference

  1. https://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/evidence-for-meat-eating-by-early-humans-103874273/
  2. https://insidescience.org/news/importance-fat-early-human-evolution
  3. https://www.academia.edu/9517113/Olive_oil_storage_during_the_fifth_and_sixth_millennia_BC_at_Ein_Zippori_Northern_Israel
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4198773/
  6. https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-basal-metabolic-rate
  7. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323027
  8. https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=17982
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5486142/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2753535/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4059404/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3951915/

Carbohydrates are one of the most prominent food groups in the diet. They are present as sugars, starches, and fiber in food. Glucose molecules are linked together to form starch and fiber. When carbohydrates enter the body, the fiber goes undigested, while the sugar and starch are broken down into glucose.  Glucose provides the energy required for bodily functions.  

Carbohydrates are commonly associated with weight gain. However, the right kind of carbs in the right amounts can earn a rightful place in your diet. 

Types Of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are subdivided into three categories depending on the number of sugars present and the nature of the chemical bonds between them.

Different types of carbohydrates

Although this is the conventional way of classifying carbohydrates, a more useful approach would be to classify them as refined and whole carbohydrates.

Whole carbohydrates include vegetables, legumes, whole fruits, and grains, which are unprocessed and thus have their nutrient content intact.

The stripping of nutrients in refined carbohydrates as a part of processing makes them 'empty calories.' This removal of the nutrients results in rapid absorption and metabolism of these carbohydrates. This results in spiked sugar levels and unstable energy levels.

The Story Behind Carbohydrates

Previous studies on the development of the brain and other human traits suggest that the shift from plant-based to meat-based diet played a critical role. Since then, a lot of evidence has come to light that indicates the involvement of plant-based carbohydrates in meeting the demands of the growing brain.

Further, the role of cooking in improving the digestion and breakdown of carbohydrates has also been factored in. 

According to Mark Thomas, an evolutionary geneticist from University College London, the brain's size started significantly increasing only around 800,000 years ago - which is speculated to be the time period where the usage of fire started. 

What does this mean?

Glucose is the main source of energy for the brain. When the cooked vegetables were consumed, the body had to put in much less work to convert the carbohydrates to glucose for feeding the brain.

For example, the starch in cooked potatoes digests 20 times faster than the uncooked ones. This suggests that cooked carbs, which became the major source of energy, contributed to brain growth.

To further investigate the hypothesis, the starch digesting enzyme amylase was studied. An analysis revealed that the genes that produce amylase started evolving to higher numbers around the same time cooking was started.

This was an advantage since more amylase was required to digest the increasing amounts of starch consumed. So, with every mouthful, the brain derived more energy from the starch.

There are still uncertainties about the antiquity of cooking and the reason for the increase in the amylase enzyme gene. However, the above-mentioned correlation cannot be just dismissed as a coincidence!

Genetics Of Weight Gain On Carbohydrate Intake

AMY1 gene

The AMY1 gene encodes the enzyme amylase, which is responsible for the digestion of starch. Salivary amylase is the enzyme found in your saliva, which begins the process of digesting starch in food. It breaks the insoluble starch into smaller soluble forms. High-AMY1-gene copy number (number of copies of a gene) indicates increased secretion of amylase. This results in a faster breakdown of starch. The difference in the copy number of the AMY1 gene is reported to be the genome's largest influence on obesity. According to a recent study, each copy of AMY1 decreases the risk of obesity 1.2-fold.

rs4244372

rs4244372 is a Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) in the AMY1 gene. The A allele in this SNP is associated with a lower copy number of AMY1 gene, and hence poor starch metabolism. People who have the AA type may tend to put on more weight on carbohydrates when compared to the people who have the TT or the AT type.

Do All Carbohydrates Cause Weight Gain?

Refined carbohydrates cause sudden spikes in sugar levels. As the sugar levels rise, the body produces insulin to regulate them. Insulin converts excess sugar into fat. A higher spike in sugar levels results in increased insulin secretion, which leaves you with excess stubborn body fat. Various studies show that refined carbohydrates are associated with type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.

Whole carbohydrates, also known as complex carbohydrates, have natural fiber components in them. This fibrous part is easy to digest and thus helps us stay full for a longer time. A balanced diet that is rich in natural fiber helps maintain the blood sugar levels in our body. These foods have a low glycemic load. Glycemic load estimates how much a person's sugar level will rise upon consuming food. A low glycemic load indicates longer digestion time and a smaller spike in blood sugar levels.

An ideal whole carb diet contains seeds (chia seeds and pumpkin seeds), grains (quinoa and oats) with fresh vegetables and fruits. Many nutritionists also advise a switch from white rice to brown rice. This is because brown rice is packed with nutrients that help us prevent heart diseases and type 2 diabetes. 

Should You Avoid Carbohydrates Completely?

Other than being an important source of energy to the body, carbohydrates also perform the following functions:

Carbohydrates Help Maintain A Healthy Gut

Research tells us that a fibrous diet can help maintain a healthy gut. Complex carbohydrates contain a sugar component and a fiber component. Fiber is present in two categories, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber helps maintain bowel movements, as well as the consistency of the stool. Insoluble fiber relieves constipation and prevents various digestive tract diseases. Studies also show that a diet rich in fiber helps maintain our blood sugar levels and also benefits our heart.

Carbohydrates Influence Heart Health

While refined carbs are not really your heart's best friend, dietary fiber can help maintain blood sugar levels and is heart-healthy. When fiber passes through the intestines, it prevents reabsorption and hence, the buildup of bad cholesterol. This reduces the risk of heart diseases. 

Dr. Tamar Polonsky, MD, from the University of Chicago Medicine, said that foods that contain complex carbs "decrease inflammation and help us decrease the risk of plaque buildup in our arteries." Plaque is the deposition of certain substances in the blood vessels that block the blood flow. This buildup is caused by fat, cholesterol, and calcium that is present in the blood. This can potentially lead to a heart attack or stroke. Polonsky advises us to stick to healthier carbohydrates with less fat and cholesterol to prevent these.

Carbohydrates Help Maintain Muscle Strength

Our body stores the extra glucose in the form of glycogen (another sugar), which is very important to us. When there's no available glucose from carbohydrates, the body breaks down the muscles to generate glucose for energy. To prevent muscle mass loss due to starvation, the consumption of adequate amounts of carbs is essential.

Carbohydrates Can Improve Mental Health

Apart from all the impacts on physical health, research suggests that carbohydrates can improve mental health as well. A study from the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that people who were on a low-carbohydrate diet for a year experienced symptoms of depression and anxiety. 

Food Sources That Have Low Carb Content

The idea behind a low-carbohydrate diet (for weight loss) is that if the body does not receive the extra carbohydrate, no excess fat will be stored. Instead, the fat already present will be burnt for energy. 

Plant Sources Of Low-Carbohydrates Foods

Animal Sources Of Low-Carbohydrates Foods

High-carbohydrate need not necessarily be our enemy. In fact, high carbohydrate foods with adequate fiber are extremely healthy. 

Food Sources Of Complex Carbohydrates

All these foods are rich in fiber and help us from feeling hungry frequently. They also help us maintain good gut and heart health. 

Summary

Carbohydrates are one of the major food groups. There are two types of carbohydrates - whole or complex and refined. Whole/Complex carbohydrates present in food like oats and bananas are healthy, while the refined carbohydrates are "empty calories" that spike your blood sugar levels. The starch in the carbohydrates is digested by the salivary enzyme, amylase, encoded by the AMY1 gene. A higher copy number of the AMY1 gene is considered beneficial, as it results in a faster breakdown of starch. rs4244372 is an SNP in the AMY1 gene associated with the difference in the copy number of the gene. People who have the AA type tend to have a low copy number and hence may be poor digestors of starch. These people are at an increased risk for weight gain on carbohydrate consumption and may benefit from a low-carbohydrate diet. Some low carbohydrate foods include leafy greens, nuts, and olive oil. Animal foods like lean meat and fish are low in carbohydrates. Another option can be switching to a fiber-rich carbohydrate (complex carbohydrates) diet. Fiber is digested slowly and thus keeps you full for longer. Quinoa, buckwheat, berries, and sweet potatoes are good sources of complex carbohydrates.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6485469/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4712930/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3836142/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24008907/
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycemic_load
  6. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/gnet-brown-rice-diabetes/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21332763/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23422921/
  9. https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/heart-and-vascular-articles/the-benefits-carbohydrates-can-have-on-heart-health
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19901139/

Carbohydrates are one of the main classes of food. It is the main source of energy for the body. They are a group of organic compounds present in the form of food in cellulose, starch, and sugar. They are called carbohydrates, as they contain hydrogen and oxygen in the same ratio as water (2:1). These are then broken down to release energy.

Due to the association of carbohydrates with weight gain, the carbs may disguise as an enemy to a healthy diet. However, the right kind of carbs in the right amounts can definitely earn a rightful place in your diet. 

A healthy weight is an important element of good health. The amount of food you eat and what you eat is important for maintaining a healthy weight.

For years, there was a myth that a low-carb diet is the best way to lose weight, but a growing body of evidence suggests otherwise.

Types of carbohydrates

Carbs are sub-divided into three categories depending on the number of sugars present and the nature of the chemical bonds between them.

Analyze Your Genetic Variants For Weight Gain On Carbohydrate Intake

Although this is the conventional way of classifying carbs, a more pragmatic approach would be to classify them as refined and whole carbs.

Whole carbs include vegetables, legumes, whole fruits, and grains, which are unprocessed and thus have their nutrient content intact.

The stripping of nutrients in refined carbs as a part of processing makes them count as 'empty calories.'

This removal of the nutrients results in rapid absorption and metabolism of these carbohydrates.

This results in spiked sugar levels and unstable energy levels, the latter of which causes “sugar rush” after consuming sugar-rich foods.

The refined or the sugary carbs are simple carbohydrates that the body quickly absorbs.

Their metabolism occurs rapidly, which results in major swings in the blood glucose levels. This induces hormonal and metabolic changes that can promote overeating.

Are carbohydrates bad?

Not all carbohydrates are bad for health.

Unprocessed carbs that are present in vegetables, fruits, and grains are healthy.

Studies reveal that these improve metabolization and help in weight loss.

Another class of carbs, the processed ones, are unhealthy because they lose the fiber during processing and contain no essential nutrients.

Examples of these include white bread, white rice, and the like.

Intake of foods containing processed carbs can result in weight gain and increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Studies show that high unprocessed carbs in the diet can lead to a craving for more carbs, and people tend to get caught in the vicious cycle.

Thus, making changes to your diet by including more of unprocessed carbs can be a healthy choice.

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Carbohydrates intake and weight gain tendency: What’s the genetic link?

Studies have shown that there is a link between genetic factors and dietary factors such as weight loss, weight gain, obesity.

Nearly 70% of the world population carries the gene for obesity. This explains why obesity is growing rapidly around the world.

However, people can reverse this gene's effect by exercising and including more protein in their diet.

Gene 1: FTO

A study has found an association between the FTO gene and the intake of carbohydrates.

The individuals with the A variant were found to have a higher risk of obesity than ones with the CC wild type.

The FTO gene has a negative association with over-eating.

Gene 2: AMY1

About 23% of the global population carries a variant in the AMY1 gene, which shows an association with low copy numbers of the gene and reduced ability to digest starch. 

70% of people from agricultural populations have an AMY1 copy number variant, which shows an association with better starch digestion and lower risk of obesity when compared to 37% of non-agricultural populations.

Can a DNA test help you lose or gain weight?

The conventional diet plans and workout regimes architected for weight loss need not help everyone achieve their desired goals.

There is a multitude of factors that influence weight loss, including a person’s lifestyle, genetic makeup, and the environment.

Your genes can influence how you metabolize the nutrients you get from your diet. This directly has a role to play in weight gain/loss.

For instance, some people may possess a genetic variant that aids in the faster metabolization of carbohydrates, while others may carry a variant that will help in faster break-down of saturated fats.

You can leverage such genetic information to adopt a practical and personalized weight loss plan.

While genetic tests may not lay out the A-Z of weight loss, it certainly helps you pin the right path for your weight loss journey.

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Published on June 17, 2020

The Apolipoprotein A-II (APOA2) gene is associated with the synthesis of Apolipoprotein 2, the second most common protein found in the high density lipoprotein. This protein is shown to be associated with the impairment of the reverse cholesterol transport and the anti-oxidant ability of the high density lipoprotein. People with the T variant of the gene have higher levels of the protein.

Association with Saturated Fat Intake and Weight Gain Tendency:

In a study conducted on adolescents, people with the C variant were found to be associated with greater body fat percentage, visceral fat and HDL-C levels on a high saturated fat intake.

When people with the C variant are given a choice between a bar of chocolate and guacamole, they are more likely to prefer a bar of chocolate, though there is an equal amount of fat in both. This may be because people with C variant are more likely to prefer foods that are rich in saturated fat.

In another study conducted on nearly 2000 individuals, people with the C variant were found to be significantly associated with a higher intake of high fat dairy and higher BMI.  

 

Does your 23andme, Ancestry DNA, FTDNA raw data have APOA2 gene variant information?

CHIP Version APOA2 SNPs
23andMe (Use your 23andme raw data to know your APOA2 Variant)
v1 23andme Present
v2 23andme Present
v3 23andme Present
v4 23andme Present
V5 23andme (current chip) Present
AncestryDNA  (Use your ancestry DNA raw data to know your APOA2 Variant)
v1 ancestry DNA Present
V2 ancestry DNA (current chip) Present
Family Tree DNA  (Use your FTDNA raw data to know your APOA2 Variant)
OmniExpress microarray chip Present

 

Genotype

Rs5082

Phenotype

Recommendations

CC

[Limitation] More likely to consume higher amount of food rich in saturated fat

[Limitation] More likely to have higher BMI on high saturated fat intake

  • Since your genetic type indicates that you may prefer food rich in saturated fat intake which could increase your tendency to gain weight, consciously lower intake of food rich in saturated fat (below 22g per day)
  • Include sufficient physical activity to lower risk for weight gain
  • Ensure healthy snacking practices
CT Moderate BMI
  • Practice mindful eating and continue to eat food rich in saturated fat in moderation
TT

[Advantage] More likely to consume normal amount of food rich in saturated fat

[Advantage] Less likely to have higher BMI on saturated fat intake

 

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2874956/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Apolipoprotein+A2+Polymorphism+Interacts+with+Intakes+of+Dairy+Foods+to+Influence+Body+Weight+in+2+U.S.+Populations

Related Links:

  1. https://www.xcode.life/dna-and-nutrition/saturated-fat-consumption-and-the-apoa2-gene

 

[idea]Find out which variation of the gene you carry and more at www.xcode.life[/idea]

“Nutrigenetics, fitness genetics, health genetics are all nascent but rapidly growing areas within human genetics. The information provided herein is based on preliminary scientific studies and it is to be read and understood in that context.”

The Fat Mass and Obesity gene (FTO) is associated with the synthesis of the FTO enzyme, also known as the alpha ketoglutarate dependent dioxygenase. FTO gene expression has been shown to be upregulated in the hypothalamus of the brain after food deprivation, which is associated with increased consumption of high calorie foods. There are 3 SNPs that we analyze in association with weight management and carbohydrates, fiber, protein or saturated fat intake- rs9939609, rs8050136 and rs11076023.

Association with a tendency to overeat (Weight Management):

In a review study, children with the A variant of the gene were shown to be associated with greater intake of biscuits when compared with children with the T variant (rs9939609). Adults with the A variant (rs9939609) were also shown to have altered post prandial satiety (feeling of being full) levels. In a similar study conducted to identify the association between post prandial satiety and rs9939609, people with the A variant of the fat gene were found to be associated with low sensation of feeling full after a meal.  

Loss Of Control Over Eating

In a study conducted on 289 youth, people with the A variant (rs9939609) of the gene had a greater tendency to eat more fat than people with the T variant (rs9939609), with 37.4% of people with the A variant reporting loss of control over eating when compared with 18.8% of people with the T variant. Subsequently, the study showed that people with the A variant of the gene had a significantly greater body mass index.

TV advertisement and overeating

TV advertisements could also induce people to overeat, but the extent of overeating is shown to be associated with the fat gene variant carried by the individual. A study was conducted on 200 children post lunch, involving screening of a 34 minute television program, which also included food advertisements and toy advertisements. Children with the A variant (rs9939609) of the gene consumed significantly more snacks when they were exposed to food advertisements.

Association with Carbohydrate Intake and Weight Gain Tendency:

In a study conducted on 1618 people from an Asian Indian population, people with the A variant (rs8050136) of the gene had a 2.46% higher risk of obesity when compared to people with the C variant among people on a high carbohydrate diet. In the same study, it was found that among people who were inactive, people with the A variant were found to be associated with 1.89 times increased risk for obesity.

Association with Fibre Intake and Weight Loss Tendency:

In the study on 1618 people from an Asian population, people with the A variant (rs11076023) of the gene were shown to be associated with 1.62cm lower waist circumference than people with the T variant of the gene.

Association with Saturated Fat Intake and Weight Gain Tendency:

In a study conducted to identify the association between fat intake, FTO genotype (rs9939609) and body fat percentage, people with the T variant did not show an increase in body fat percentage with increase in fat intake, but people with the A variant were shown to be associated with increased body fat percentage with increased fat intake.

In a study conducted on 4839 men and women on a high fat diet, people with the A variant (rs9939609) were shown to be associated with higher BMI and were twice as likely to be obese when compared with people with the T variant.

Association with Protein Intake and Weight Loss Tendency:

In a study conducted on 737 overweight adults, people with the A variant of the gene (rs9939609) were shown to be associated with a reduced food craving on a hypo-caloric and a high protein diet.

Association with Type 2 Diabetes:

In a study conducted on 2577 Korean study participants, it was found that people with the A variant (rs9939609) of the fat gene were associated with increased risk for obesity and, thereby, an increased risk for diabetes. In a similar study conducted on 4,189 Han Chinese individuals, people with the A variant of rs9939609 and A variant of rs8050136 were shown to be associated with type 2 diabetes and obesity in the Asian population.

Does your 23andme, Ancestry DNA, FTDNA raw data have FTO gene variant information?

CHIP VersionFTO SNPs
23andMe (Use your 23andme raw data to know your FTO Variant)
v1 23andmePresent
v2 23andmePresent
v3 23andmePresent
v4 23andmePresent
V5 23andme (current chip)Present
AncestryDNA  (Use your ancestry DNA raw data to know your FTO Variant)
v1 ancestry DNAPresent
V2 ancestry DNA (current chip)Present
Family Tree DNA  (Use your FTDNA raw data to know your FTO Variant)
OmniExpress microarray chipPresent
Genotype (rs9939609)PhenotypeRecommendations
AA[Limitation] More likely to have higher risk for obesity. [Limitation] More likely to have higher fat percentage on a high fat diet [Limitation] More likely to have higher BMI on a high fat diet [Limitation] More Likely to have loss of control eating episodes [Limitation] More Likely to have higher risk for type 2 diabetes [Advantage] More likely to have lower food craving on a high protein dietA common fat gene myth is that people with this variant are doomed to remain overweight or obese, however, practicing mindful eating and consciously avoiding increased consumption of high fatty food could help in better weight management For people with this variant of the fat gene weight loss can be achieved by balancing food intake with appropriate exercises A high protein diet may be beneficial as it reduces food craving. So foods that turn off fat genes are foods that are rich in protein. Spirulina is a rich source of protein and helps improve satiety
ATModerate risk for obesity 
TT[Advantage] More likely to have lower risk for obesity. [Advantage] Less likely to have higher fat percentage on a high fat diet [Advantage] Less likely to have increased BMI on a high fat diet [Advantage] Less Likely to have loss of control eating episodes [Advantage] Less Likely to have higher risk for type 2 diabetes [Limitation] Less likely to have lower food craving on a high protein dietEnsure a healthy balance between food intake and exercises
Genotype (rs8050136)PhenotypeRecommendation
AA[Limitation] More likely to have increased risk for obesity. [Limitation] More Likely to have higher risk for type 2 diabetesEnsure a healthy balance between food intake and exercises
ACModerate risk for obesityThough the risk for obesity is lower, practise healthy eating practices and ensure sufficient physical activity
CC[Advantage] More likely to have lower risk for obesity. [Advantage] Less Likely to have higher risk for type 2 diabetesThough the risk for obesity is lower, practise healthy eating practices and ensure sufficient physical activity
Genotype (rs11076023)PhenotypeRecommendation
AA[Advantage] More likely to have lower waist circumference on a high fiber dietConsume a fibre rich diet to ensure better weight maintenance Fibre rich foods include black beans, lima beans, broccoli, artichoke and brussels sprouts
ATModerate waist circumference on a high fiber dietA fiber rich diet may not considerably lower weight but it helps in bowel movements and in controlling blood sugar levels
TT[Limitation] More likely to have higher waist circumference than people with the A variant on a high fiber dietA fiber rich diet may not considerably lower weight but it helps in bowel movements and in controlling blood sugar levels

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FTO_gene
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19828706?dopt=Abstract
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27249024
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27274759?dopt=Abstract
  5. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2009/09/02/ajcn.2009.27958.abstract
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26440677
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2777464/
  8. https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12986-016-0098-6
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24622803

Related Links:

  1. https://www.xcode.life/dna-and-health/obesity-and-genetics-variations-in-fto-apoa2-and-apoa5-genes
  2. https://www.xcode.life/dna-and-nutrition/how-much-of-body-weight-is-determined-by-genetics

“Nutrigenetics, fitness genetics, health genetics are all nascent but rapidly growing areas within human genetics. The information provided herein is based on preliminary scientific studies and it is to be read and understood in that context.”

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