Fat Metabolism – Are GENES The Culprit?
Whenever we think about taking care of health, the first thing that comes to our mind is DIET and EXERCISE. A diet is a total calculated food consumed by a person and exercise is a physical activity that helps maintain physical fitness and overall health. While diet provides necessary calories/energy to the body, exercise helps boost metabolism (the process of conversion of food to energy).
The human body is made of cells which require energy to perform their respective function. We get the energy from the food we eat. When we eat the food we get different kinds of nutrients like fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, water, fiber, and protein. The main source of energy is fats. There are different kinds of fats – saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and trans fats. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered good fats and saturated and trans fats are considered bad fats (because they increase the risk for cardiovascular disease). These fats are present in the food we consume.
Not all individuals have the same energy requirements. There are multiple factors that determine individual caloric requirements – daily physical activity, body composition, genetics, etc. So one should eat according to the energy they require. One person could be on a high-fat, calorie intense diet if your work involves physical activity or if you go for a jog or hit the gym daily – simply put, you require more energy (more calories) than a sedentary person. But if both of them were to follow the same diet, the results would be drastically different. Another important factor is your metabolic rate – if your body is a good metabolizer of carbohydrates than fats you will reduce the intake of fats and increase the intake of carbohydrates.
Our cells get energy through metabolic processes (metabolism). These processes take place all the time in our bodies and they are broadly classified into two categories: catabolic reactions and anabolic reactions. Catabolic reactions are those reactions in which energy is released (by breaking down the chemical bonds) by breaking down large molecules (proteins, complex carbohydrates, and lipids) into small molecules (amino acids, fatty acids, and monosaccharides). In contrast, anabolic reactions form bigger molecules by combining small molecules by using energy. These are enzyme-catalyzed chemical reactions in which one chemical is transformed into another chemical by a series of steps and each step is facilitated by a specific enzyme. If the enzymes are inactive or deficient, it leads to the accumulation of toxic compounds which may affect normal organ function and it causes failure in producing crucial biological compounds and other intermediates.
How is DNA linked with metabolism? Ok, let’s get technical!
Enzymes are biological molecules (proteins) that act as a catalyst for the reactions taking place in the cell. These are very selective in nature which means they can only speed up a specific reaction. Enzymes are produced by DNA or genes. Thus, your genetic code or DNA sequence determines enzyme activity or efficacy. Enzymes (proteins) are formed from DNA which includes two steps: Transcription (DNA is copied to RNA) and Translation (RNA is copied to proteins). Variations in the DNA affect enzyme activity and deficiency.
We know that every human is different and unique. All humans are 99.9% similar in their genetic makeup, that 0.1% difference makes us all different and unique. So every person has a different metabolic rate based on their genes (for metabolism enzymes are necessary and enzymes are formed from DNA). This is why ONE diet (eg., keto, low-carb, low-fat, etc) doesn’t work for all. So by decoding your DNA and knowing about the genes which are related to enzymes that are involved in the metabolism, you can unlock your diet which is unique to you.
So…DOES fat make you fat?
That’s not entirely true. It totally depends on you, which means your enzymes, which means your DNA. Know your DNA, find out whether your enzymes are good at metabolism or not and eat accordingly.
Bottom line – Excess caloric intake (be it carbohydrate, fat or protein) causes weight gain.
Genes linked with fat metabolism
Studies have shown that there is a strong link between fat sensitivity, carbohydrate sensitivity, obesity, etc, with genes. The following are a few examples of gene-diet interactions.
PPARG – Peroxisome proliferator receptor gamma gene variation affects sensitivity to dietary fat. The gene regulates calorie intake, weight regulation, energy balance, and fat metabolism. So, if you have a certain variation in your PPARG gene, you have to monitor your FAT intake, otherwise, you will gain weight easily.
ADRB2 – Beta 2 adrenergic receptor gene regulates metabolism. Individuals with a certain ADRB2 gene variant are more likely to gain weight when on a high carbohydrate diet. So, if you don’t have a certain genetic variation in the ADRB2 gene you can take a regular amount of carbohydrates. But if there are certain variations in that gene, it’s better to avoid a high carbohydrate diet.
FTO – Fat mass and obesity-associated gene regulates lipid/fat storage, transport, and metabolism. Genetic variation reduces the amount of this protein, causes excessive hunger and overeating. This variant is reportedly found in at least 22% of the population. If you have certain variations in your FTO gene, you are susceptible to weight gain/obesity.
So… the good news is, you CAN blame your genes for making you fat (XD)!
So, do your genes seal your fate?
Not really – you can take control of other factors and achieve the desired outcome.
There are ways to boost metabolism, enhance muscle mass and fat loss – by keeping tabs on eating behavior, physical activity, and sleeping behavior. In other words, while you cannot change your DNA or gene sequence, there is a lot you can do to reach your fitness or wellness goal. For example, choose a low-carb diet if you are carbohydrate-sensitive. Ensure you are getting enough exercise to shed excess fat. Unlocking information from your genes only empowers you to personalize your action plan.
How Mapmygenome Can Help You
Get MyFitGene and MyNutriGene to know how you are made and optimize your diet/workouts! By decoding your genes, you will know your dietary sensitivity, nutrient requirements, diet pattern, and much more.
How can you use the test information to improve the quality of life?
- Genetic tests are available online — you order one and receive the sample collection kit, along with a health history questionnaire.
- Once you send the sample, your DNA is extracted and analyzed for several key markers associated with diet, fitness, well-being, disease risk, and more.
- The genetic counselor correlates genetic findings with a health history to offer personalized nutrition, fitness, and wellness advice.
- Your nutritionists and personal trainers can also be part of the genetic counseling session in order to design diet plans and fitness routines that work for you.