People who seem to eat what they want, when they want, and still stay thin are the bane of many people’s existence who struggle with weight (or at least they are responsible for some mild resentment). However, just because you’re skinny doesn’t mean you’re healthy.
Scientists are now sending out a warning to thin people that being lean doesn’t mean you can be carefree with your health. The concern centers around a so-called “lean gene.” This gene keeps people slim but also masks signs of heart disease and diabetes, particularly in men.
What the gene does is reduce levels of fat under the skin. However, what’s left is dangerous tissue that surrounds the heart and other organs.
“We’ve uncovered a truly fascinating genetic story and, when we found the effect of this gene, we were very intrigued by the unexpected finding,” said Professor Douglas Kiel of the Harvard Medical School.
Keil and his colleagues went over the genetic codes of over 75,000 people looking for genes that determine body fat levels. What they found was the IRS1 gene was linked to lower levels of visible fat. It wasn’t until further study revealed that this was not a lucky break for those with the gene, but that it led to higher levels of cholesterol and blood glucose.
“Genetic variants may not only determine the amount of total fat in your body, but also what kind of fat you have,” said Professor Keil. “Some collections of fat, such as the kind located just under the skin, may actually be less harmful than the type located in the abdominal cavity, which may increase the risk of developing metabolic disease.”
(via: Yahoo! UK & Ireland)