If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re not alone. Most of us have wanted to drop a few pounds at one time or another, and over two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese (NIDDK). Unhealthy eating and too little exercise can no doubt help pack on the pounds, but genes also play a role.
Researchers have identified dozens of “obesity genes,” which can put you at risk of carrying too much weight. It’s not clear how all of these genes work, but they likely influence your appetite, eating behavior and other factors associated with weight gain. The more obesity genes you carry, the higher your risk of being overweight or obese.
Fortunately, obesity is not a necessary destiny if you have a lot of obesity genes. Studies show that eating more healthy foods and fewer unhealthy ones can actually help suppress obesity genes.
When it comes to weight loss, studies show that people at high genetic risk for obesity may benefit the most from healthy eating. Eating more healthy foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and fewer unhealthy ones like processed foods and sweets may help counteract obesity genes.
A January 2018 study in the British Medical Journal followed over 14,000 men and women for 20 years and looked at their obesity genes, eating pattern and changes in body weight. The researchers assessed the participants eating patterns using the Alternative Healthy Eating Index 2010, which scores your diet based on the quality of foods you eat.
The study found that people who improved their healthy eating scores were more likely to lose weight over time. Even better, those at the highest genetic risk of obesity saw even greater benefit from healthy eating improvements than those at low risk.
Six Steps to a Healthier Diet
So if your genes put you at risk for obesity, the good news is eating a healthy diet can help reverse this predisposition to weighing more. According to the Alternative Healthy Index, making any of the following changes in your diet can improve your healthy eating “grade:”
Curious to see what your genetic predispositions are and how they can affect your weight loss? Check out embodyDNA powered by Lose It! to find out more.
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This content was originally published here.