Not losing weight fast enough? Fix those genes

Jul 14, 2013, 06:17 IST | Dhiman Chattopadhyay

How to lose weight? Ah! If only we knew a foolproof answer. New research from Stanford University confirms what we had always suspected. Being overweight has all to do with the genes. Apparently the same diet and exercise regime that works for your classmate may backfire on you. So how does one go about checking out the old' DNA? And then? Dhiman Chattopadhyay finds out

Ever wondered why good old Golu (named thus for his chubby physique in school) manages to shed five kilos every time he hits the gym and goes off beer, while you lose less than 10 grams even after following every step he takes? Damn those genes!

A recent Stanford University research, based on the weight loss records of several thousand volunteers, shows that two individuals enrolling for the same slimming package may obtain vastly different results even if their body composition, lifestyles, and dietary habits are more or less similar. It’s only when diet, exercise regimes and overall lifestyle are packaged according to an individual’s genetic or DNA composition, that a person becomes healthier.

Tell me why
So how does a gene test help future ailments and make us healthier? Nutritionist Namit Vyas, says, “Lifestyle modification is one of the most significant remedies in preventing heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. A gene test shows whether you have genetic inclination towards fat storage or regaining weight. Also gene mutations may be the determining factor in whether our body absorbs or stores more fat, and if we are at increased risk of regaining weight.”

Bottomline: By knowing our genetic make-up, we can understand our body’s requirements for weight loss. We can then personalise an individual’s weight loss diet for more effective results.

To gym or not to gym
Many of us exercise without really knowing what our body’s requirements are. Especially, when we are working-out to lose weight, we don’t know how much exercise the body may require. Kolkata-based sports therapist Bhupinder Singh believes, “For some of us, our weight loss may be responsive to exercise, and for some it may not be responsive. The Stanford research identifies gene mutations that make some people more resistant to weight loss compared to others.”

Vandana Luthra, founder and mentor at VLCC, says, “We must understand our genes. They tell us very clearly if we are likely to have a heart problem, diabetes or cancer. Personally I do not recommend losing more than 1 kilo a week or 4 kilos a month. Just like you may suffer if you pop pills without seeing a doctor, you may also suffer serious side effects if you choose a diet or an exercise regimen just because your friend does it.

Bottomline: Basically, you will now know for sure whether it’s the treadmill or the yoga sessions (or watching TV) that will work for you.

We can almost hear the hushed tones, asking whether the test will hurt. Well, we haven’t taken it yet but apparently all that the pathologist will do is brush your cheeks (with a brush, before your imagination runs wild) and take skin samples. Viola! In less than 120 hours, when you walk into your doc’s chamber or to the nutritionist’s clinic with the reports, she will be able to tell you just what to eat, how much to run and what not to do from now on. 

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