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Greedy gene found.

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By Kate Devlin Medical Correspondent

Last Updated: 10:48PM GMT 10 Dec 2008

The gene appears to encourage those who carry it to shun healthy options like fruit and vegetables and opt for high calorie foods containing sugar and fat.

It is carried by more than half of the population and encourages children to eat an average of 100 extra calories per sitting, the study found.

The researchers estimate that the number of extra calories would be greater for adults and possibly up to 15 per cent more than other people at every meal.

The gene, called FTO, has previously been linked to an increased risk of becoming overweight or obese.

But scientists have struggled to understand if it affects calorie intake or how our bodies process fat.

Almost a quarter of the population are now obese and experts predict that the proportion of the population that is heavily overweight will continue to rise in coming decades, alongside associated illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

"What this study effectively shows is that the people with the relevant variants on the gene have a trait which may lead them to eat more unhealthy, fattening foods.

"I would stress that this is a trait, and not an absolute occurrence," said Professor Colin Palmer, from the University of Dundee, who led the study and was also one of the scientists who discovered the gene last year.

But he insisted that the effects of FTO could be overcome.

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"I would stress that this is a trait, and not an absolute occurrence,"

 

It'll still be grabbed onto by every fat bastard "victim" out their to claim it's their genes/hormones/whatever that make them fat (when in fact almost no one that is even morbidly obese has anything wrong with them in that sense).

 

Not it's not, it's the 4000 calories of lard you shove in your gob every day, whilst you strenuously watch TV, that does it. ;)

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"I would stress that this is a trait, and not an absolute occurrence,"

 

It'll still be grabbed onto by every fat bastard "victim" out their to claim it's their genes/hormones/whatever that make them fat (when in fact almost no one that is even morbidly obese has anything wrong with them in that sense).

 

Not it's not, it's the 4000 calories of lard you shove in your gob every day, whilst you strenuously watch TV, that does it. ;)

 

Aye.

 

What's the game behind this lark then?

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Obesity 'controlled by the brain'

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Rates of obesity are on the rise

 

Seven new gene variants discovered by scientists suggest strongly that obesity is largely a mind problem.

 

The findings suggest the brain plays the dominant role in controlling appetite, and that obesity cannot easily be blamed on metabolic flaws.

 

Two international studies, published in Nature Genetics, examined samples from thousands of people for the tiniest genetic changes.

 

Many of the seven key variants seem to be active in the brain.

 

 

This cannot be the explanation for the current epidemic of obesity since these genes have been present for centuries and the obesity epidemic is a relatively new phenomenon

Professor Peter Weissberg

British Heart Foundation

 

Calculate your BMI

This suggests that the brain's impact on appetite and eating behaviour may be more important that any genetic variation which alters the body's ability to lay down or burn up fat.

 

All seven variants were picked up by a study led by Icelandic company deCODE Genetics, while six of the seven were also identified in a second, independent study by an international team dubbed the Giant consortium.

 

In both cases the researchers scrutinised DNA samples from thousands of people to assess the impact of tiny changes.

 

Each of the variants identified had a small impact on obesity, but a person carrying all of them was typically around 1.5kg - 2kg heavier than average.

 

It is estimated that as much as 70% of the variation in body mass index - a measure of obesity based on height and weight - is down to genetics, rather than environmental factors.

 

Researcher Dr Kari Stefansson, of deCODE Genetics said: "This suggests that as we work to develop better means of combating obesity, we need to focus on the regulation of appetite at least as much as on the metabolic factors of how the body uses and stores energy."

 

Major step forward

 

Dr Alan Guttmacher, of the US National Human Genome Research Institute, said the research was a major step forward in understanding how the human body regulates weight.

 

However, Professor Peter Weissberg, of the at the British Heart Foundation, expressed caution.

 

He said: "This research adds to the growing body of evidence that some people are more at risk of becoming obese because of their genes.

 

"It suggests that some people may be less able than others to resist the temptation to overeat because of their genetic background and it might start to explain why some people have no problem keeping their weight down whilst others struggle.

 

"However, this cannot be the explanation for the current epidemic of obesity since these genes have been present for centuries and the obesity epidemic is a relatively new phenomenon."

 

Almost one in four people in the UK is now classified as obese, and expert predict the proportion will continue to rise sharply.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7783088.stm

 

 

Willpower? The human race is doomed. :P

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