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The Impact of Genetics and Environment on Weight Loss Resistance — JJ Virgin, Ph.D., CNS, CHFI

11th Clinical Applications for Age Management Medicine Conference
Sunday, November 2011 – Las Vegas, Nevada

 

JJ Virgin, Ph.D., CNS, CHFI
Nutritionist, Fitness Expert and Author

 

Seventy percent of the population is now overweight or obese with the majority of this population falling into the obese category. One in five American children are now obese. Of the remaining population roughly 50% are thin outside, fat inside (TOFI). The recidivism rate of dieting exceeds 50%. It is well documented that genetics accounts for 40-70% of a person’s predisposition to obesity. Recent research conducted at Stanford University showed that when subjects were put on a diet identified as appropriate to their genotype, they lost an average of over 2.5 times more weight than individuals on diets that were not appropriate. Clearly the outdated “one sizes fits all” weight loss model based on caloric restriction and aerobic exercise is not working and may in fact be exacerbating the crisis by damaging both metabolism and psyche further. The current weight loss model fails because it doesn’t look for the cause of the problem and assumes that it is simply one of overconsumption and low energy output, without taking into account genetic and hormonal factors that could shift the metabolic requirements and impair the body’s ability to burn off fat weight while holding onto or increasing lean mass. Over the past two decades I have identified seven different modifiable factors that can slow down or stop fat loss despite the patient’s best efforts of eating healthy balanced meals, repleting core nutrient deficiencies and doing cross training exercise consistently. These factors include chronic stress, poor sleep, gastrointestinal disturbances (impaired digestion, IgG food sensitivities and gut bacterial/yeast overgrowth), elevated toxic burden, sex hormone imbalances, thyroid fatigue and insulin resistance. There are also genetic factors at play including heritable risk of obesity, increased ability to regain lost weight, decreased metabolism, taste preferences and eating behavior traits, especially related to hunger and satiety. Fortunately, one’s genes don’t have to dictate one’s destiny. Once genetic susceptibilities are indentified, a targeted diet and lifestyle intervention plan can be put in place to ensure a higher likelihood of weight loss and long term weight management success.

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