Could a gene help make you obese?

July 15, 2013, U.S. News & World Report

By Dennis Thompson

Researchers have discovered a potential genetic explanation for why some people overeat and run a greater risk for obesity.

People who carry two copies of a variant form of the “FTO” gene are more likely to feel hungry soon after eating a meal, because they carry higher levels of the hunger-producing hormone ghrelin in their bloodstream, an international team of scientists found. Continue reading

Gene variants may play role in obesity

June 17, 2013, HealthDay

By Randy Dotinga

Two new studies offer some solace to those who can’t control their weight despite diet and exercise by providing more evidence that genetics may play a role in obesity.

One study offers unique insight because it finds genetic mutations in severely obese children that suggest their excess weight may be more connected to their DNA because they put on pounds at such a young age. The other study found that certain genetic traits boost the risk of obesity in families.

The exact connection between genes and weight remains elusive. Still, “it’s very likely that many of the genetic variants that contribute to weight interact with our environment — the food that we eat and the amount of exercise that we get,” said Sadaf Farooqi, professor of metabolism and medicine at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom and co-author of the study on children. “In fact, some of these genes act by influencing our appetite and how much we like food.” Continue reading

Fructose tied to obesity as study shows it doesn’t cut appetite

Jan. 2, 2013, Bloomberg

By Nicole Ostrow

Fructose, a sweetener found on many food labels, may contribute to weight gain and obesity because it has minimal effect on brain regions that control appetite, a study by Yale University researchers found.

The research, published Jan. 1 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is the first to compare the human brain’s response to both fructose and glucose, two types of simple sugars used separately and together to sweeten food. Continue reading