Thursday, October 2, 2008

Obese? Blame it on your mom!

This is the best piece of news for those who constantly battle with their weight. We are fat because we could be genetically pre-disposed to being fat. I found this in an article on the Aug 20th issue of a weekend magazine. Now I don't feel so bad carrying that extra 5kg!

The article points to the risks of children being obese due to “metabolic imprinting” from their pregnant mother's high blood sugar levels. This imprint goes on to affect these babies’ weight, apparently.

Fat because of your genes?
We are also fat because evolution makes us predisposed to being so. The body’s weight command centre, at the hypothalamus, is calibrated to preserve rather than eliminate fat. Ah, so, no need to feel guilty about trying to shed the last 5 kg – it was always going to be hard.

Researchers also found that a genetic defect in your brain’s command centre could also affect as much as 70% of the variation in your weight.

Inside your brain is one little soldier receptor (melanocortin 4 receptor) that tells you to stop eating by triggering the feeling of you being full. If that soldier malfunctions, you are going to be eating, and eating.

Fat because of a virus?
That’s not all. Apparently a kind of virus can also make you fat. We have Nikhil Dhurandhar (an associate professor at Pennington Biomedical Centre in Baton Rouge) to thank for figuring this one.

Some 20 years ago, while treating obesity in India, he drew the link between obesity and chickens that died from carrying an avian virus (SMAM-1. He found these dead chooks to contain lots of fat in them.

Later when he worked with a human virus (adenovirus 36 or AD36), he found that in his lab, every specie of animal infected with AD36 became fat. This virus is present in 30% of obese people (is this a conclusive study? I don’t know. My guess is not.) and affects 15-17% of the human population.

Want to know if you have this fat virus? There is a company in Richmond (Virginia, USA) called Obetech that can conduct this test.

But what's the point? They haven't figured out how to get rid of the virus. This very smart professor Dhurandhar, he is now working on a possible vaccine for those infected with the AD36 virus. Bless him.

So, don’t beat yourself up if you are pre-disposed to being fat. The extra serving of pudding and extra serving of fatty meat may be the cause. But you can blame someone else now – your genes, your mom, and the bloody virus.

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