Fat Code in DNA

 New research from UCLA suggests that changes in body-fat percentage are inheritable, and that dietary responses are mostly controlled by genetics. 

Dr Brian Parks, from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), offers a bit of guiltless news for people who are overweight in his latest research findings. Dr. Parks says it's not always the fault of an overweight person’s eating habits, because what is coded is in the genes is far more responsible for the extra weight carried around by a person who just can’t seem to lose weight no matter how hard they try.

Dr. Parks says it is a person’s genes that are largely to blame for bulging waistlines and that while diet odes plays a key role in the development of obesity, some people are simply programmed to get fat more easily than others. These conclusions came from mice though. Dr. Park’s researchers utilized mice in their work, but he says the overall findings and results are just as relevant to humans. Dr Parks said that “Our research demonstrates that body-fat responses to high-fat, high-sugar diets have a very strong genetic component, and we have identified several genetic factors potentially regulating these responses. Obesity has similar genetic signatures in mice and humans. Overall, our work has broad implications concerning the genetic nature of obesity and weight gain."

Dr. Park’s observations are validated by the increases in overall national obesity over the past few decades that have been linked to high-calorie sugar and fat-rich diets as well as the rise of couch potato lifestyles that so many people in America lead today.

The researchers said their use of inbred mice strains enabled detailed analysis of the relationship between obesity traits, gene expression, intestinal flora and diet. Most mice strains responded during the first four weeks of a high-calorie diet and did not accumulate more fat during the rest of the study suggesting they had reached the limit. The team observed “high heritability of about 80pc for body-fat percentage across the study timeline."

Dr Parks and his research team say the findings are consistent with generational patterns of body mass index and obesity seen in humans, and that the changes in body-fat percentage after high-fat, high-sugar feeding were also inheritable, and the only conclusion is that dietary responses are mostly controlled by genetics.