The Junk Food Gene
Posted by Colin Rose on December 10, 2008
After $many billions spent on looking for genetic causes of common diseases like obesity we now have the answer in the latest NEJM that was obvious without spending all that money. The most common SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) associated with obesity tends to influence people to eat high-fat, energy dense food, commonly known as junk food. We already knew that obesity was not caused by “slow metabolism”. So, no junk food, no junk food addiction, no obesity. Junk food addiction is like any addiction. If an alcoholic has a bottle in the house s/he will drink it. So don’t buy junk food and you won’t eat it.
To quote from the Discussion in the paper:
“This study indicates that there is no defect in the “output” side of energy balance, which constitutes energy expenditure…Our study tested satiety by directly measuring food intake from a test meal after ingestion of one of three preloads, and the results show a robust effect of genotype on energy intake but not on the weight of food ingested. This increase in energy intake was independent of body weight. Thus, the children carrying the A allele ingested more energy-dense foods than did the children who were not carrying the A allele, indicating a preference for energy-dense foods….In conclusion, variation within the FTO locus appears to confer a risk of obesity through increased energy intake, suggesting that moderate and controlled restriction of energy intake may prevent FTO genotype–associated obesity.”