Apparently we’ve found a gluttony gene (published online in the journal Nature Medicine). For those that have compulsive needs to eat non-stop, some scientists believe this gene, and its role in signaling fullness, is implicated. A genetic role of the dice could be to blame for our poundage.
Yeah, not. While any new finding is intriguing on its own merit (knowledge is good), I don’t see the big whoop beyond that on this round. If we are hoping findings like this one will be the Holy Grail of weight loss and health, I predict we’ve got another thing coming.
If this gene mutation is “for real,” then it’s been with us in the gene pool for a while, not just since the ’70s when obesity started to make a nasty climb. A gene mutation is most likely not the root cause of our current epidemic. Oh, and at the very bottom of the article touting this finding, I read “the gene mutation is very rare in humans.” Nice.
Most of us do not compulsively eat beyond any recognition of “fullness.” Yeah, a few of us do, but not most of us. Most people put on weight a few pounds per month to the tune of about 10-15 per year. We eat an extra 500 calories a day — a burger that could have served two, a mocha-choca-latte we could have done without. Most of us are not several hundred pounds overweight, but are solidly landing in obesity weight categories. It’s not a gene forcing the bacon milkshakes down the pie hole; it’s just plain old “yum yum” and a blind eye.
If you do have this problem — and that’s a big IF — you’re still gonna have to eat less to lose the weight. Either you are poking down a pill that tells your brain “I’m full” after eating a carrot, or you are tracking your food and stopping on your own (based on total calories rather than how you “feel”), you will have to eat less. No way around it.
Even given those talking points, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt this study pricked up the ears of some heavy folks. We love a complicated answer — no matter how obscure. We pursue them — scientists and laypersons alike. Why do we deeply want some complicated answer as to why we are all fat? Why do research dollars pour into a field where most of us already know we need to eat less and move more? Because “complicated” absolves individuals of responsibility and it creates a market to sell solutions. “Simple” doesn’t sell — it isn’t sexy, not to mention Big Pharm would love to get their hands on a daily pill (read never-ending consumable) to peddle us. But before I go blaming “them” for hawking their complicated wares and research on us, I think I’d do better to blame “us” for wanting it.
I try not to be a puppet. I’ve succumb to some purchases made via shiny, hopeful advertising messages, but I try to own what’s mine — like overeating. How about you? How many dollars have you spent chasing weight-loss solutions in the form of pills, gadgets, equipment, or crazy food plans? Did you lose the weight and keep it off? Yea for you! Not so much? Start looking for some puppet strings.
NSCA certified personal trainer Shannon Sorrels has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and an MBA. Her Ahwatukee-based company, Physix LLC, works with Valley individuals and groups to improve their overall fitness. Reach her at (480) 528-5660 or visit www.azphysix.com.