Some people are able to tuck into chocolate every day and not gain weight, while others struggle to keep their weight down regardless of what they eat. Exactly why this is has been unclear, but now researchers point to a genetic mutation as the cause.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge in the UK say that mutation of a gene called KSR2 may cause continued hunger pangs in patients who are obese, as well as slow their metabolism – the rate at which the body burns calories.
These findings could provide some explanation for the increase in childhood obesity.
Previous studies have demonstrated that deleting the KSR2 gene in mice caused them to develop obesity. This highlighted KSR2 as an important factor in regulating energy balance and metabolism.
Sadaf Farooqi of the University of Cambridge and study author explains that although changes in diet and levels of physical activity underlie the recent increase in obesity, their findings show that some people do gain weight more easily than others.
He adds: “This variation between people is largely influenced by genetic factors. The discovery of a new obesity gene, KSR2, demonstrates that genes can contribute to obesity by reducing metabolic rate – how well the body burns calories.”
Source: Medical News Today