About weight loss, do you want the bad news or good news first? The bad news, you say? Yes, there is an obesity gene and 16% of the population has it. The FTO gene (the fancy name for the fat gene) predisposes you to weight roughly 3 kg more than folks without it. Carrying two copies of the fat gene makes you almost twice as likely to be overweight or obese. But here's the good news. The obesity gene doesn't prevent weight loss--you may own that bad ole' fat gene, but your DNA doesn't own you!

What is an "obesity gene?"

It's a certain genetic variant that seems to aid weight gain by making it harder for people to feel full after eating. Folks with the genome also tend to crave junk food more than those without. Using a prediction algorithm that factors in those two fat-causing issues, scientists predict that having the FTO gene will make people carry some extra weight--but it's only about seven pounds more--not a big deal. And possessing a fat gene is no excuse to pack on 100-200 pounds as the 34% of obese Americans have done.

In fact, the 16% of people with the gene variant may not even be the same two-thirds of people who actually are overweight. It all boils down to willpower.

So there's hope for weight loss even with the FTO gene?

Oh most definitely, say doctors. The British Medical Journal published a study of 9,500 people, some of whom had fat DNA and some who didn't. They all tried a variety of do-it-yourself weight loss methods (aka no bariatric or gastric bypass surgery--that would be cheating in this scenario).

Some used diet, others used diet drugs or weight loss supplements, while others exercised. And guess what--that obesity gene had no impact on whether they lost weight or not. It was down to participants' hard work and motivation, not genetics.

And here's another way life doesn't imitate science--those with chubby genetics only weight about two pounds more than those without! Granted losing weight may be more difficult if you have trouble feeling full.

A craving for goodies would be tough as well. But those are problems all dieters face. And there are diet methods and natural supplements like garcinia cambogia that can help with that. And here's an idea--what if you didn't know you had the fat gene and were supposed to have more trouble with food addiction and hunger? Maybe you would keep on working your weight loss program and succeeding despite your DNA. They say ignorance is bliss.

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