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Weight loss, genes and gender
March 1, 2016, 4:36 pm

Near most everyone has the potential to gain weight and become obese, but for some people with the faulty genetic disposition this potential becomes much higher. While over 30 genes have so far been flagged as being linked to body mass index, the one most strongly allied to obesity is the FTO gene.

Researchers recently found that people who get a faulty copy of that gene are more likely to store calories as fat instead of burn them for energy. 

Though FTO is the most powerful single gene found to date, it does not explain all obesity. Obesity is probably the sum of many genes working together, the more genetic flaws you get the more likelihood of obesity. People who do not inherit those risk genes will be protected, to some extent, from weight gain, no matter how badly they eat. Also, the research findings give some comfort to ladies looking to lose weight. While it is true that kilo for kilo a man on a diet will drop 10 kilos faster than women, it is more of a size problem than a gender one.

Men are generally bigger than women and carry more muscle — the tissue the burns the greatest number of calories — so they tend to lose weight more easily. However, although men start out strong in losing weight they cannot sustain the effort. At three months, men are definitely ahead in the race to lose weight, but by six months there is no measurable difference between men and women.

Another related study, which compared the weight loss between men and women who had gastric bypass weight-loss surgery, found that after 24 months, there was a small difference in the percent of weight lost by men or women after bariatric surgery.

On average, men had lost about 66 percent of their excess weight, while women had lost about 73 percent of their extra kilos. So, while women may take a little longer to shed the same weight as men, they seem to do a better job keeping it off, perhaps because they lost it more gradually in the first place.

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