Can't Lose Weight? Blame Your Biology

In the first study that proves ease of weight loss is indeed influenced by biology, researchers at the National Institutes of Health found evidence to suggest some people will shed pounds more quickly than others when they go on a calorie-restricted diet.

The study included 12 men and women with obesity, and researchers measured the participants' energy expenditure in response to different eating scenarios: a day of fasting and also a six-week phase of 50-percent calorie reduction.

Researchers accounted for various factors that might influence results, such as age, baseline weight, race and gender.

A 'thrifty' vs. 'spendthrift' metabolism

The study found that people who lost the least amount of weight during the restricted-calorie phase were those with a "thrifty" metabolism that slowed down the most during the fasting phase.

Those with a "spendthrift" metabolism, on the other hand, had a metabolism that decreased the least during fasting - and these people lost the most amount of weight.

Dr. Susanne Vortruba, study author, explained:

When people who are obese decrease the amount of food they eat, metabolic responses vary greatly, with a 'thrifty' metabolism possibly contributing to less weight lost. While behavioral factors such as adherence to diet affect weight loss to an extent, our study suggests we should consider a larger picture that includes individual physiology - and that weight loss is one situation where being thrifty doesn't pay.

The study leans toward the idea that weight loss may require a more personalized approach that previously thought, yet researchers still don't know if these biological factors are inherent at birth or if they develop over time.

The findings are published in Diabetes.

Source: NIH
Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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