There has been research in recent years showing that being fat can be tied to a genetic predisposition. And I’m sure it’s made many an overweight person throw their hands up and say, “hey, there’s nothing I can do about it, may as well enjoy myself.”
But this isn’t a life sentence for those who inherit a variant version of the FTO gene. The “obesity gene” predisposes people to being fat, but it’s not an unchangeable fate.
“We know that genes affect our body weight set point. But so does our environment and our diet,” says child obesity expert David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD. “We can’t change our genes, but we can change our diet, and by doing so in a sophisticated way, we may be able to adjust that body weight set point in our favor.”
Researcher Laura Johnson, PhD and her colleagues concluded that kids can offset the risk of having the obesity gene if their parents give them fewer energy-dense foods. That means parents need to do what has been common knowledge for so long: feed your kids more fruits and vegetables, and less energy dense foods such as cheese and desserts.
Low-energy density foods fill you up with less calories, while high density foods give you a lot of calories while not filling you up.