The FTO gene aforementioned is not to be confused with the estimated genetic predisposition to “severe” obesity, which is estimated at 1 on 10,000. The UK research team confirms a genetic link to obesity, but reminds that while genetics have not changed, environment and eating patterns have changed .
Emily Sonestedt, author and member of the research group at Lund University Diabetes Centre, says that in the case of FTO, the critical determinant of obesity of what you eat. The September 14, 2009 article by Science Daily states, “The risk of becoming obese is 2.5 times higher for those who have double copies of the best known risk gene for overweight and obesity [FTO].” The article goes on to explain that a low-fat diet “neutralizes” the harmful effects of the FTO gene .
Sonestedt’s research shows that the harmful effects of the gene can be canceled by improving diet and mapping the effects of other obesity genes, allowing professionals to better individualize nutrition counseling for those that want to avoid gaining weight. She also states, “This shows that we are not slaves to our genes. Even if we are born with an inherited predisposition to obesity, life style is important” .