Have you ever noticed how some people are naturally thin whereas others struggle with losing weight, despite following a healthy diet and exercise regimen? Genetics plays a significant role. One gene, in particular, called FTO, has been linked to weight gain. Dozens of other genes are related to weight, too. But can you override your fat genes?

Lifestyle can override geneticsLifestyle can override genetics

Weight gain is a complex issue. Even though some people have a genetic predisposition toward gaining weight more easily than others, you can override your fat genes. How? In essence, while genetics might predispose you to be heavier, lifestyle factors ultimately determine how heavy you'll be. That means if you eat a lot of unhealthy food and never exercise, chances are, you'll gain weight easily. But, if you follow a healthy diet and exercise on a regular basis, you can overcome any genetic predispositions you might have.

Genetics aren't set in stoneGenetics aren't set in stone

The good news is that many fat genes can turn on and off depending on your habits and environment. Here are some ways that you can override your fat genes:

  • Load up on protein. Chicken, tofu, and eggs are all full of protein that helps to build muscle. Protein should comprise at least 25% of your daily calories. You'll notice your appetite decrease along with fewer cravings.
  • Eat earlier in the day. Your body is regulated by an internal clock that prefers to get calories earlier in the day. This means you should always eat breakfast, and you should have lunch earlier on in the day, too. You'll lose more weight.
  • Exercise more. You can override the FTO gene by increasing your workload. Abundant physical exercise helps to offset the risks that the FTO gene carries. Just start hiking, hitting up the gym or biking to/from work daily.
  • Follow a Mediterranean diet. A Mediterranean diet may cancel out any increased genetic risks of gaining weight. This diet is rich in olive oil, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts.
  • Drink lots of green tea. This beverage boosts the activity of several genes that regulate metabolism. The antioxidants found in green tea also improve blood sugar control. Drink at least a few glasses a day.
  • Strength train. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism will be. If you have a challenging time building muscle, you need to increase your resistance to see growth. Try doing three sets, and resting no more than 90 seconds in between sets.

Overriding your fat genes is easyOverriding your fat genes is easy

Just because you might have a genetic predisposition to gaining weight doesn't mean you should give up all hope. You can easily override your fat genes by staying active, strength training, eating less, and focusing on healthy, protein-rich foods. At the end of the day, environmental factors have more influence than genetics.

References
  1. "5 Super Simple Ways You Can Turn off Your Fat Switch," Men's Health, July 13, 2017.
  2. "Are You Fated to be Fat?," WebMD, n.d.
  3. "You Can Actually Override Your Fat Genes -- Here's How," Shape, August 16, 2016.

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