Have you ever wondered how some people manage to always stay naturally skinny, look so fit, healthy and lean with absolutely no fat?. Why do they remain thin despite eating whatever they like, while you seem to be putting on weight just for swallowing air and water?
We all have that one friend or colleague who always annoyingly stays thin and trim no matter what he or she eats.
You must be thinking they must be working very hard in the gym for that kind of physique. Well now we have news for you it turns out that the secret to their slim body is not necessarily a killer workout regime, but it is actually a genetic thing!
A study, conducted by a team of Cambridge researchers, has revealed that some people have a unique genetic coding that helps them to maintain the same body weight throughout their entire life. Some previous research had shed light on genetic influence on obesity, this recent study focuses on thinness instead.
The study, published in the PLOS Genetics journal, is the largest of its kind to date. The team compared the DNA of around 14,000 people and separated into different weight groups to find how genes might influence a person’s weight.
Sadaf Farooqi, a professor from the University of Cambridge in the UK and Wellcome-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, led the study that was backed by the European Research Council and Wellcome. The goal of the “Study Into Lean and Thin Subjects,” or “STILTS.” was to examine how and why some people remain slim more easily than others.
Professor Farooqi and his team, in collaboration with Wellcome’s Dr. Inês Barroso, collected and compared the DNA of around 14,000 participants, 1,622 of whom were thin and from the STILTS group. On the other hand, 1,985 volunteers were severely obese, and the remaining 10,433 were of normal weight.
By comparing DNA from 1,622 people with a low body mass index (BMI) against 1,985 severely obese people and 10,433 control people of normal weight, the scientists were able to spot patterns in the coding across the three groups.
Human DNA is made up of a sequence of molecules called “base pairs.” The letters A, C, G, and T represent the base pairs, and strings of these make up the genetic regions. Our genes dictate how our bodies function, and variations, such as a C where an A should be, can have a subtle or dramatic influence on features such as eye color, hair color, and of course, weight.
The team came across several genetic variants that researchers had already identified and associated with obesity. However, the recent study found new genetic regions that could be responsible for healthy thinness.
When studying and comparing the DNA of the participants, Prof. Farooqi and his team came across several genetic variants that were previously identified for causing obesity. However, this recent study revealed new genetic regions, some of which are thought to be responsible for severe obesity, while others are thought to play a role in healthy thinness. To find out how genes affect one’s weight, the researchers took into account all the different genetic variants and came up with a genetic risk score.
As they suspected, obese people, have a higher genetic risk score that makes them more likely to be overweight than people of normal weight. Thin people, on the other hand, have a significantly lower genetic risk score.
In other words, thin people tend to have fewer genetic variants that increase the chances of developing obesity.
They also lack the genetic variants that are known to be responsible for causing obesity. The study thus showed that people who have always been thin despite their diet and lifestyles have their unique genes to thank for their looks.
Genes can determine a person’s weight, but it does not mean one should relax and let go of a healthy diet and lifestyle practices. All that junk food might not make you fat but it clearly affects your body in many ways. The study merely showed how genes may be responsible for different weight gain in different people. However, your personal practices play a critical role when it comes to maintaining weight.