Have You Got The Fat Gene?

Have You Got The Fat Gene?

Have you ever wondered if your genes are responsible for your weight challenges? The chances are, they may well be playing a role. While academics have long argued over the extent to which genes affect our weight, more and more evidence is suggesting a strong connection. So have you got the fat gene?

You can contact us and organise a complimentary call if you’d like to learn more about how working with a qualified, experienced nutritionist can help you achieve your goals.

HAVE YOU GOT THE FAT GENE?

For most of us, there is no one single ‘fat gene’ responsible for all of our weight issues. Rather, a number of different genetic polymorphisms combine to create a unique set of challenges for each individual.

A number of different genes impact our desire for food, the types of foods we desire and how our body uses those foods once we’ve consumed them.  Below we’ll look a small handful of the genes that can have an effect on our fat storage and appetite. Our appetite is primarily regulated by two hormones, ghrelin (our hunger hormone) and leptin (our satiety hormone). Genes that influence the function of these hormones can make a big difference to our eating behaviour and weight control. 

The good news is that understanding your unique genetics can help you understand how to optimise your diet and lifestyle to support healthy gene expression and quieten less helpful genetic tendencies. Your genes are not your destiny. As the saying goes ‘genes load the gut but environment pulls the trigger’.

As a team of nutritionists who specialise in weight loss, we regularly test our clients DNA. This enables us to truly tailored their health, nutrition and lifestyle plan to their unique biology. Find out more about our Intelligent Weight Loss DNA Test here or to buy the test, click here.

WHAT CAN OUR GENES TELL US?

Our test is the most comprehensive weight and metabolism DNA test available. It looks at over 40 genes and 50 SNPs across six pathways. These including appetite regulation, nutrient sensing, sugar and fat metabolism, cholesterol and bile, mitochondria and inflammation. Understanding your unique genetic traits means you can take a strategic approach to successful weight loss and long term weight maintenance, based on your body’s unique make up.

Below are the specific genes we test for:

Appetite Regulation: BDNF, FAAH, FTO, LEPR, MC4R, NPY, POMC
Nutrient Sensing: ADIPOQ, FOXO3, HIF1A, IRS1, PARP1, PGC1A, PPARA, PPARG, SIRT1, VEGFA
Sugar Metabolism: AMPD1, FABP2, GCK, GLUT2, IRS1, PPARG, TCF7L2
Fat Metabolism: ADRB3, CD36, CPT1A, FABP2, LPL, PLIN1, PPARA, SREBF1
Cholesterol and Bile: CYP7A1, HMGCR, LDLR, SREBF1 
Mitochondria and Inflammation: CAT, CRP, FOXO3, GPX1, IFNG, IL6, NRF2, SIRT3, SOD2, TNF, UCP1/2/3

Below are a few more detailed examples of the genes we test for. These examples demonstrate how different genes can affect our weight and the specific strategies that can be implemented to quieten their expression.

MC4R – THE ‘DEATH BY BUFFET GENE’

The MC4R (melanocortin 4 receptor) gene plays a key role in regulating appetite and energy balance in the body. It drives a desire to eat more combined with a reduced metabolism. This receptor in nerve cells of the hypothalamus is triggered by leptin, the satiety hormone. This alerts our brains to the fact we are full. Mutations or variations in the MC4R gene can disrupt this signal, leading to an increased risk of obesity. It’s been referred to as the ‘death by buffet gene’ as people who have this genetic polymorphism can find it hard to stop eating once they’ve started.

Research shows that people with this genetic trait have a strong preference for high fat foods and consuming them is understood to result in a greater serotonin release. However, studies show that they typically have less of a preference for sugary foods. It might also be called the ‘polar bear gene’ as polar bears have inactive MC4R genes that allow them to eat as much as possible to accumulate fat during the summer! Mutations in this gene are one of the most commonly known genetic causes of monogenic obesity. We’ll discuss this in more detail later on.

HOW TO HACK A MC4R POLYMORPHISM

People with MC4R variations can find it helpful to be clear on ideal portion sizes. It’s advisable that they are mindful of their fat consumption and avoid high fat trigger foods. And avoid the all you can eat buffet!

FTO – THE ‘FAT SO’ GENE

The FTO gene is one of the most well-known genetic risk factors for obesity, and variations in this gene can affect several aspects of energy balance, including appetite, metabolism, and weight regulation. The FTO gene increases our production of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. This activates other hormones that help our brains tell us to eat. FTO gene variants result in more frequent eating and snacking. There is a general preference for calorie dense foods in general, both fats and carbs. In fact, this gene alone can account for 3kg of weight gain in a person. 

HOW TO HACK A FTO POLYMORPHISM

Getting into a good mealtime routine, avoiding snacking, fasting in the evening and overnight, and taking regular exercise can help to reduce weight gain due to SNPs in this gene.

POMC – THE ‘HUNGRY LABRADOR’ GENE

Another key player in appetite is POMC (Proopiomelanocortin)  which is the source  of melanocortins for the MC4R receptors. Some genetic variants can reduce POMC, reducing the melanocortin hormones that help to make us feel full. Looking at the animal kingdom again, Labrador dogs lack the POMC gene, explaining their insatiable desire to continue eating.

HOW TO HACK A POMC POLYMORPHISM

People with POMC variants need to support their eating behaviour in a similar way to MC4R variants, but as it can also be influenced by the mood supporting neurotransmitter serotonin. Supplements, habits and behaviours that support serotonin production and improve mood can all be helpful. 

FAT GENE EXTREMES

In extreme cases, genetic disorders can lead to significant weight issues. 

Prader-Willi syndrome is a rare genetic disorder characterised by a constant sense of hunger, amongst the learning difficulties and physical and behavioural challenges associated. According to the NHS website: Prader-Willi syndrome is caused by some missing genetic material in a group of genes on chromosome number 15. This leads to a number of problems and is thought to affect part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which produces hormones and regulates growth and appetite. This may explain some of the typical features of Prader-Willi syndrome, such as delayed growth and persistent hunger, often leading to obesity. 

Prader-wili is considered monogenic obesity. This is when obesity results from the mutation or deficiency of one specific gene. Most of the clients we work with come under the polygenic category where which a larger number of genetic polymorphisms each have a small effect.

TEST TO FIND OUT IF YOU HAVE THE FAT GENE

Our Intelligent Weight Loss DNA Test can identify the extent to which genetics are impacting your weight. The good news is, your genes are not your destiny. As you’ll have seen from the examples above, much can be done to ‘switch on’ or ‘switch off’ your genes. Our comprehensive test includes a consultation with a nutritionist who will talk you through your results and give you a plan tailored to your unique genetics. Click here to purchase the test.

WORK WITH US

We are a team of qualified nutritionists who specialise in weight loss. For many of the clients we work with, a more sophisticated strategy than simple calorie counting is required for lasting weight loss. If you’re ready to overcome your weight challenges, achieve your goal weight and maintain it long term, we can help. You can use this link to book in for a complimentary call today. This is an opportunity to talk through your challenges with a member of our team and decide together whether one of our Intelligent Weight Loss programmes is right for you. Or contact us to request a copy of our brochure and we will get back to you soon.

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SARAH LAW

Sarah has worked with hundreds of clients over the past decade to help them live in a healthy body that they feel confident in.


Sarah spent a large part of her teens and 20’s as a professional dancer battling with orthorexia and an unhealthy relationship with food and her body. This created a desire to understand the human body more so she could finally cut through the confusion and end the cycle of yoyo dieting. This fuelled her passion to help other women do the same.

 

Sarah specialises in supporting women who are struggling to lose weight due to underlying health issues. She’s helped many women manage their weight during and after the menopause, as well as clients with thyroid disease and immune system dysfunction. Sarah loves food and sharing healthy recipes with her clients. Her aim is to ensure that clients don’t feel deprived and instead, achieve their weight loss and health goals in a positive and sustainable way.

 

To enquire about working with Sarah, please contact us.

AILSA HICHENS

 

Ailsa is one of our most experienced practitioners. She specialises in helping clients to lose weight, develop a healthy relationship with food and finally feel comfortable in their skin. Ailsa’s mission is for everyone she works with to enjoy the journey and that working with a nutritionist should not be a punishment, but your access to a new possibility.

 

Ailsa is not only an experienced weight loss nutritionist, she is also a skilled coach. She helps our clients overcome emotional eating, destructive habits and self-sabotaging behaviours that have prevented successful weight loss in the past. Ailsa has spent years in clinic working with clients who have experienced yo-yo dieting and have discovered that long term weight loss is not just about eating less until you can stand it no longer.

 

Working with Ailsa you will be comprehensively supported, not only in improving your nutrition and lifestyle, but also your eating habits and your relationship with food. When you work on all these elements together, the results can be truly astonishing.

 

To enquire about working with Ailsa, please contact us.

Test Nikki is our Practice Manager, managing our team of practitioners and heading up the day-to-day running of the business. Nikki is involved in the strategic development of our practice, coming from a strong business background in town planning. A Florida girl, Nikki relocated to the UK in 2014 with her husband and two children.

NIKKI ANDRIANI

 

Nikki is our Practice Manager, managing our team of practitioners and heading up the day-to-day running of th clinic.

 

Nikki is involved in the strategic development of our practice, coming from a strong business background in town planning.

 

A Florida girl, Nikki relocated to the UK in 2014 with her husband and two children.

STÉPHANIE ACHAR

Stéphanie is a skilled nutritional therapist and functional medicine practitioner with additional training in eating disorders, disordered eating and obesity. She believes that working towards both physiological and mental health is key in achieving optimum wellbeing.

 

Stéphanie’s personal experience of emotional eating and the ongoing struggle to find the right support led her to combine the science of nutrition with behavioural coaching to motivate and empower her clients. She specialises in helping people who struggle with their weight and their relationship with food. She helps them develop a healthier and more peaceful relationship with food and their bodies.

 

To enquire about working with Stéphanie, please contact us.

INNA WEARN

Inna is passionate about supporting women on their journey to improved health and wellbeing. She believes that the solution to effective weight loss does not lie in ever more restrictive diets, but a more sophisticated approach that optimises health and vitality, as well as promoting effective weight loss.

 

Working with Inna you will benefit from her in-depth knowledge of female health and hormones. She will support you in developing a healthy diet, lifestyle and mindset that ensures you reach your ideal weight and maintain it in the years to come.

 

Inna is passionate about food with a wide repertoire of delicious healthy recipes and meal ideas to ensure your weight loss journey is as enjoyable as possible!

 

To enquire about working with Inna, please contact us.

ANIA MASON

 

Ania is a firm believer that improving your health and losing weight should be a positive, empowering journey, not one centred around deprivation.

 

After being diagnosed with two autoimmune conditions in her twenties, Ania spent several years educating herself on the power of food and nutrition. She put it all into practise and changed her diet and lifestyle, reversing her endometriosis and thyroid disease. After experiencing such a significant improvement in her health, Ania had a big desire to help others. She embarked on a four year journey to study nutrition, graduating from the Institute for Optimum Nutrition with distinction.

 

Ania specialises in autoimmunity and works with clients who have underlying health issues preventing successful weight loss. Her expertise enables her to successfully support our clients with conditions such as hypothyroidsm (underactive thyroid), PCOS and diabetes. 

 

To enquire about working with Ania, please contact us.

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