Monday, April 8, 2019

Can we Blame our Genetics for Overeating?

The decisions in our life like the amount and types of food we consume are controlled by both personal choices and genetic history. The FTO gene is the first gene to be linked to obesity, and one small change in the gene is the difference between low risk and high risk obesity. Individuals who have one high risk copy have a 30% chance to develop obesity, and those who have two high risk copies of the gene have a 70% chance of developing obesity.  A survey of individuals with either one or two copies of the high risk gene revealed that not everyone who was genetically prone to obesity was obese.

The topic of overeating is also a nature vs. nurture case because an individual's risk for obesity is affected by their genetic make up but also the environment in which they live in. Our physiological response to eating or any other habit is associated with a reward system within the brain. It's been established that gene variation can increase a person's chances of being addicted to eating or any other addiction. However not everyone who has this gene variation will get addicted. I agree with this article because an individual's genetic history can make someone more prone to a certain addiction, but the environment in which they are in also plays a significant role.

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting article-I believe people can be addicted to food/eating-just like any other unhealthy addictions people acquire. It makes sense that addiction is a chemical imbalance if there are genes involved. I do agree with you though, that when it comes to overeating, there are strong external factors such as environment, relationships, or past traumas. I wonder if any scientist has researched this particular gene that is linked to obesity-and tried to manipulate the gene by "turning it off".