Have you ever questioned how some people 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 have that one friend or relative 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 essentially a killer workout regime, but it is a genetic thing!
A study conducted by a Cambridge researchers team has revealed that some people have a unique genetic coding that helps them maintain the same body weight throughout their entire life. Some previous research had put some light on the genetic impact on obesity; this recent study focuses on thinness instead.
The study, available in the PLOS Genetics journal, is the major of its kind to date. The team compared the DNA of over 14,000 people and divided it into different weight groups to find how genes might affect a person’s weight.
Sadaf Farooqi, a professor at the University of Cambridge in the UK and Wellcome-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, led the study backed by the European Research Council and Wellcome. The aim of the “Study Into Lean and Thin Subjects,” or “STILTS,” was to examine how and why some people remain slim more quickly than others.
Professor Farooqi and his team, in association with Wellcome’s Dr. Inês Barroso, put together and compared the DNA of around 14,000 participants, 1,622 of whom were slim and from the STILTS group. While 1,985 volunteers were severely overweight, and the remaining 10,433 were of average 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 average weight, the scientists could spot patterns in the coding across the three groups.
Human DNA is made up of an arrangement of molecules called “base pairs.” The letters A, C, G, and T, signify the base pairs, and strings of these make up the genetic regions. Our genes dictate how our bodies function, and disparities, such as a C where an A should be, can have an understated or dramatic influence on features such as eye color, hair color, and of course, weight.
The team came across some genetic variants that researchers had already recognized and associated with obesity. Nevertheless, the recent study found new genetic regions that could be in control for healthy thinness.
When studying and comparing the participants’ DNA, Prof. Farooqi and his team came across several genetic variants that were previously identified for causing obesity. This recent study discovered new genetic regions, some of which are thought to be responsible for severe obesity, while others are thought to play healthy thinness. To determine how genes affect one’s weight, the researchers considered all the diverse genetic variations and came up with a genetic risk score.
As they assumed, obese people have a higher genetic risk score, making them more likely to be overweight than normal-weight people. Thin people, on the other hand, have a meaningfully 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 identified to be accountable for causing obesity. Thus, the study 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 affects your body in many ways. The study merely showed how genes might be responsible for different weight gain in different people. However, your practices play a critical role when it comes to maintaining weight.