Studies Show Evidence of a “Fat Gene”

One of the more interesting things to come from the British science front recently is the possible existence of a “fat gene”. Researcher’s at King’s College in London and at the University of Oxford, may have discovered a gene that controls how fat behaves in the body. This is one research project that actually could result in a “magic pill” or something similar for weight loss. However, there is still much work to be done on it, but scientists think that this gene will help doctors understand better why obesity happens and how to prevent it and treat it in those that already have it.

fat geneThis is actually quite a big discovery, and especially in the genetics field, which since the 70’s has been targeted towards understanding genetics and how it affects our lives. Genes work like on and off switches in our body, telling to do something, or not to do something. Genes are responsible for much of the physical and mental parts of ourselves, giving us a certain color hair for example, or a certain height. Now, there may be a gene that makes us genetically predisposed to be overweight, or in the case for some people, underweight.

The study shows that one out of every three Americans carry a gene for obesity and suffer from it. Diabetes and obesity are linked, and diabetes is definitely a genetic condition. The gene, called KLF14, is responsible for forming a huge number of metabolic traits, including that one which creates our body mass index level, as well as cholesterol and insulin levels. Scientists hope to use this gene to prevent conditions like obesity, heart disease and diabetes. It is not a miracle cure yet, but it is definitely a huge leap to fighting obesity with science.

Of course, you can still maintain a healthy weight, and lose weight to get to that point if you are already obese. It requires knowing how many calories your body burns in a day total, your metabolism in other words, and then eating less than those calories, creating a deficit. A healthy diet that is lower in calories than you are burning, combined with an exercise program that works out your whole body, and gets your heart rate up to optimum levels will certainly do the trick, but for many people, it is a struggle to stay on track, even if they reach their goal weight.

The Myth of a Slow Metabolism

One of the biggest myths that still exist out there in the weight loss world is the one that says that people who are overweight must have a slow metabolism. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and in fact, the exact opposite is true. However, in order to understand why so many people believe that this is the case, and the reason that they have so much trouble losing weight, one must first understand how the metabolism works, and how weight loss works in general.

Slow MetabolismThe metabolism is the process of the body breaking down food for energy. However, the process of metabolism can be much more simply defined as, the number of calories that your body burns each day through keeping your heart beating, your brain working and blood moving through the cardiovascular system. This includes your basal metabolic rate, and the exercise that you do throughout the day. In order to understand how it is impossible for those that are overweight to have a “slower” metabolism than those at a healthy weight, let’s take a look at how weight loss works.

How Weight Loss Works

Weight loss happens when the body burns more calories than a person takes in. So, if a person normally burns 2000 calories in a day, and eats 1500, they will lose the amount of fat equivalent to 500 calories, which is exactly 1/7 of a pound. In other words, a person that has a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day will lose a pound in a week. A person that has a calorie deficit of 1500 on the other hand, will lose three pounds a week. Additional calories can be burned through exercise, and some combination of diet and exercise should get rid of enough calories to lose some weight.

The Myth That Slow Metabolisms Cause Obesity

The fact is, that a person’s metabolism, or the number of calories that they burn in a day, is dependent on four different factors. First, what gender they are. Second, how much they weight and how tall they are. Finally, their age. Physical activity can be thrown in there too, or it can be calculated separately.

A person that is overweight has to burn a much larger number of calories to keep the body going. It takes a lot more energy for an overweight person’s heart to beat, blood to flow through the veins and it burns a lot more calories doing physical activity as well.

Therefore, it is impossible for the person that is overweight to have a slower metabolism than someone who is at a healthy weight. In fact, someone that is overweight can burn as many as four times as many calories than a person at a healthy weight, and those that start eating a healthy diet and actually stay under the amount of calories it would take to maintain their healthy weight, will notice huge losses in the first few weeks. As more and more weight is lost, the metabolism slows down, and that is often where people run into trouble, because their weight loss levels off. They don’t realize that they have to continually adjust for a slower metabolism the more weight that they lose.

How to Deal With Being Overweight

Being overweight can affect nearly every aspect of your life, and find a way to deal with it is something that everyone who suffers from the condition must do. Being overweight is often fairly restrictive, causing those that are extremely overweight or obese to miss out on opportunities afforded to others. Physical restrictions can range from simply not being fit enough to participate in activities like team sports and other types of outdoor recreations, and in extreme cases, physical restrictions can even keep the overweight person from being able to fit into seats that were designed with a smaller person in mind, or having to purchase additional seating such as on an airline flight.

overweight people

Besides, the physical difficulties that are encountered when being overweight, there are some social disadvantages that can take a heavy toll upon the overweight person. Unlike other physical traits that are deemed unattractive by society in general, being overweight is generally considered to be the fault of the obese person, and therefore the general public may be rude and inconsiderate to the overweight person, especially when having trouble fitting into a seat, or eating in public. Being overweight can make the obese person feel badly about themselves and can lower confidence and make it difficult for them to be in social situations.

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Body Mass Index Formula

Your Body Mass Index, commonly abbreviated BMI is a number that is gathered using data like a person’s height and weight. BMI is usually used to determine whether a person is overweight, but the calculation does not measure body fat. However, the correlation between BMI and body fat is very accurate. Measure a person’s Body Mass Index is a straightforward procedure and does not require any specialized equipment or tools, and this simple screening can determine if a person is overweight, or may become overweight, which can help to prevent future health problems associated with that condition.

Bmi Table

What Are BMI Calculations Used For? BMI is measured so that those over the age of twenty can be screened for potential obesity problems and to give a person an indicator of where they fall when it comes to weight. One thing to keep in mind is that although the Body Mass Index number can determine whether or not a person is overweight or obese, it is not a diagnosis and if your BMI is high you should consult with your doctor in order to determine what exactly the problem is and how it can be resolved, as well as any other health problems that may be related to being overweight or obese.

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How to Maintain a Healthy Weight

healthy weightMaintaining a healthy weight is much more difficult in today’s modern world than it was in the past. Today, many people have desk jobs, or other sedentary types of work, which is in stark contrast to our recent past where people had to work very physical jobs like farming, iron work or animal care for eight to ten hours a day, and burned a great deal of calories. Maintaining a healthy weight takes work in today’s world, and it also requires watching your food intake and not allowing it to exceed the number of calories burned each day through BMR and exercise.

Risks of Obesity

Those that are overweight have to deal with a lot more issues than just being unattractive to the majority of the opposite sex. Those who are classified as obese or grossly obese are at an increased risk for diabetes, are much more apt to suffer from heart disease, and other cardiopulmonary problems. Also, these people are at a much higher risk for cancer, and are subject to diseases like diabetes, gout and osteoarthritis as well as a risk of breathing problems like asthma and sleep apnea. Besides these factors, the increased weight will be much harder on the joints of the body.

How People Get Fat (Or Skinny)

Your body burns a certain number of calories each day just by keeping you alive. This is called BMR or RMR, depending upon which calculation you want to use. Either way, this is generally just an estimate of your daily calories burned (at rest) allowing for some variance depending upon your activity level. RMR stands for resting metabolic rate, and it is truly the number of calories you burn while competely at rest. Imagine that you spend an entire day doing nothing but laying in bed, asleep or awake, and you will have an idea of what RMR measures – just your digestion, sleeping, breathing, brain activity etc.

Your BMR on the other hand, standing for Basal Metabolic Rate, is your number of calories burned using both your number representing the number you are burning staying alive and your general activity level. Either way, these numbers do not usually include the number of calories you burn through physical exercise specifically intended to burn calories. So, people gain weight when they eat more calories than both their RMR/BMR and their exercise. They lose weight when they eat less than the calories burned, or burn more than the calories eaten through exercise.

Healthy Eating

Healthy eating is one of the ways in which a person can lose weight. If you know how many calories you are burning each day, estimated conservatively, then you can calculate the number of calories you need to stay under. A deficit of 500 calories per day will equal a loss of one pound per week, because 3500 calories equal a pound, and 500 multiplied by seven days is 3500. Alternatively, cutting out 1500 calories per day from your daily intake, and still burning the same amount of calories through BMR/RMR and exercise will result in a weight loss of around 3 pounds a week.


Most people lose weight with a combination of diet and exercise, but if you don’t want to cut any calories out of your diet, you can still lose weight by exercising. Again, the same formula is used, where 500 extra exercise calories per day will equal a pound a week, as long as the exercise is performed all seven days, or an equivalent exercise that burns the same amount of calories. However, keep in mind these are just averages and weight loss will fluctuate a little from one week to another.