Real Scientific Reasons Of Weight Gain
Genes and environment interplay to determine your body weight
Your weight is the result of constant interactions between your genes and environment. Oftentimes, overweight and obese individuals are blamed for their own weight problems when in fact, they are the victims of their genes. These genes were once advantageous for our ancestors since they allowed them to store excess energy as fat in preparation for food shortages. But in today’s environment, food shortages are rare and these genes have become a liability.
About 200-300 genes have been identified as risk factors for weight gain. Most of them drive our urges to eat more and crave high-energy foods; others cause low or imbalanced metabolism. However, if you carry these genes, you can still minimize your risk for excess gain by adopting a personalized weight loss regimen based on your genetic makeup. To start, you should identify your weight gain traits.
Common traits associated with weight gain
Scientists at GB HealthWatch have identified seven major types of traits that contribute to weight gain. Most have a genetic basis while others are cognitive with no known genetic influence.
1. Low satiety is the inability to feel fullness after a meal. If you have low satiety, you have a tendency to overeat. About 13-15% people in the normal population and 49-55% in the overweight and obese populations have low satiety. More than 50 genes have been reported to regulate satiety in humans including FTO and MC4R.
2. Emotional eating is when you eat for reasons besides hunger. It is driven by genes involved in the reward system in your brain. About 40% of people experience emotional eating and about 3.5% of women and 2% of men are diagnosed with binge eating disorder, a severe type of emotional eating, at some point in their life. Variants of DRD2 and OPRM1 genes are associated with increased risk for emotional eating and binge eating disorder.
3. Low metabolism, short for low basal metabolic rate, causes your body to expend less energy than normal on maintaining its basic functions like breathing, temperature, and your heart rate. A low basal metabolic rate normally leads to weight gain because your energy intake outweighs your low energy expenditure. More than 18% men and 25% women in the US have a low metabolism. Variations in the ADIPOQ and UPC2 genes are associated with increased risk for low metabolism.
4. Self-control refers to one’s efforts to consciously manage body weight. In general, about 23% of women and 14% of men have high self-control while 34% of women and 23% of men have low self-control. In the overweight and obese population, about 45% of women and 50% of men have high self-control. Their weight gain may have caused them to become more conscientious.
5. Food calorie misperception is when you underestimate the number of calories in food. When combined with low satiety, calorie misperception can increase your risk for overeating and weight gain.
6. Short sleep is when you sleep for under 7 hours a night. Short sleep increases your risk for weight gain since you are unable to produce sufficient sleep-induced hormones. About 6-8% of normal weight people and 18% -30% of overweight and obese people sleep less than 6 hours a night. Several genes involved in circadian rhythm regulation and/or neurotransmitter function play important roles in sleep duration including CLOCK, SLC6A4 and GRIA3.
7. Other risk factors such as certain medicines, congenital diseases, or genetic mutations can also cause weight gain.
GB Algorithm for weight gain profiling
Each weight gain trait is associated with specific behaviors. Based on scientific studies, GB scientists have developed a proprietary algorithm to profile the impact of these traits on body weight. The GB algorithm analyses your answers to a series of questionnaires and calculates your scores for each trait. These scores are then weighted for their contribution to your body weight based on epidemiological studies. For example, every one hour of shorter sleep contributes an increase of BMI by 1. The questionnaires we use were originally developed by scientists for use in eating behavior studies and later adopted by epidemiologic researchers. Your results can help identify the major contributor to your weight gain and its likely genetic causes. Click here to profile yourself now.