Have you read about the KLF14 gene yet? It’s also being described as the “master switch” gene for obesity. University of Oxford researchers have announced that they have discovered the gene that potentially turns on the FTO gene that controls the MC4R receptors, or something like that.
Going back in time a little, scientists at the University of California discovered the fat gene (FTO gene) back in 2001. At that time they estimated that about 16% of our population might have both copies of this gene. (It’s a recessive gene so you need two of them to express themselves in your phenotype.) They described it as a risk factor though. If you were unlucky enough to inherit both genes you had a 70% chance of being genetically predisposed to obesity.
So, by doing a little basic math (70%x16%=10.5%) it looks like about 10.5% of us are going to some trouble keeping our weight down.
Unfortunately for you 10.5 per-centers, the scientists haven’t figured out how to work that “master switch” yet. In the meantime they still offer bariatric surgery. (I’ll offer you a less drastic solution in a minute.)
Looking at the above map it seems that we are at the very least 2 or 3 times fatter than our genetics would indicate. Has it always been this way? Lets take a look at another chart.
It sure looks like something changed in the mid 1980s. Prior to that the chart pretty much matches up with the fat gene model. About 10.5% or so of us were on the chubby side, a few more were even chubbier. Then the spike. What changed?
In 1984 the USDA and the National Institute of Health found what they thought was a way to make us all healthier. They decided that fat and cholesterol caused coronary artery disease. Essentially what happened was that the entire country was put on a low fat, high carb diet. Food manufacturers were encouraged to remove as much fat from their products as possible. If you want to read the reccomendation for yourself, here is a link:
It’s interesting to note that a disclaimer has been added to the above article. It says that “this is for historical purposes only”. Maybe someone is having second thoughts after only 35 years of escalating obesity ? Yet the myth persists. Most people I know believe that a loaf of low fat whole wheat bread is healthier than an order of bacon and eggs. Tell them you are eating chicken livers and they shake their heads.
Personally I think there probably is a fat gene. I also think there might even be a master switch to turn it off. I also believe that if we went back to our pre-1984 diet most of us wouldn’t even be worried about fat genes or switches. I also believe that if we went back a little further, say about 10,000 years, there wouldn’t even be such a thing as an obesity chart.
You can eat Paleo and live the caveman lifestyle. Doesn’t matter which end of the gene pool you swim in, you will still be able to swim.