Five factors that can affect one’s weight

May 2, 2018

Battling with obesity takes more than sheer will power. There are five possible factors that can have a direct effect on your weight according to research undertaken in the UK on Britons and presented in a documentary titled “The Truth About Obesity” on BBC News recently.

  • Gut flora

Tim Spector has been studying a pair of twins who have a significant difference in weight – (41kg)  for the past 25 years. The professor, who does Twin Research Study in the UK, says that they owe their weight differences to microbes –microscopic organisms – that live in the gut.

Having found the same pattern in a study of 5,000 people, he says,“The greater the diversity, the skinnier the person. If you’re carrying too much weight, your microbes aren’t as diverse as they should be.” Having a diet that is rich in various sources of fibre can produce a more diverse range of gut microbes.

  • Genes

Scientists at Cambridge University in the UK believe the variation of the genes we inherit has a 40 – 70% effect on our weight. Specific genes can affect one’s appetite, food preference and how the body burns calories.

One gene called MC4R, works in the brain to control hunger and appetite. About one in every 1,000 people carries a defective version of this gene which causes an increase in hunger as well as cravings for fatty food.

  • It’s a matter of time

Obesity expert, James Brown says, “The later we eat, the more likely we are to gain weight.” He explains that our body handles calories more effectively during the daytime than it does during the night.

In spite of the current hectic lifestyles there are things that will make a difference to our weight.Eating a healthy, protein – rich breakfast with some fat, as well as carbohydrates will keep you fuller for longer.Follow that up with a nutritious lunch, and have something lighter at dinnertime.

  • Trick your brain

Behavioural scientist Hugo Harper with the Behavioural Insights Team, suggests a number of ways to subconsciously change your eating behaviour, rather than rely on calorie counting.

For example, removing visual temptations might be more effective than depending on conscious willpower. So instead ofunhealthy snacks out on the kitchen counter – have a fruit bowl or healthy snacks.

He also encourages swapping to lower calorie alternatives of favourite foods rather than trying to banish them altogether. Opt for diet versions of soft drinks, for example and reduce portion size by 5 – 10%

  • Change in hormones

Bariatric surgery – the most effective treatment of obesity – increases the hormones that make us feel full while decreasing the ones that make us feel hungry.

Researchers at Imperial College London have recreated the gut hormones that cause the appetite changes and are using this for a new clinical trial.A mixture of three hormones are given to patients as an injection daily for four weeks. The results have been promising. The patients have lost 4 -17lb within 28 days.

If the drug is proven to be safe, it will be used until the patients reach a healthy weight.


Category: Education, Features

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