When you think of weight loss, no doubt you’re immediately picturing the outward, visible effects. You’ll look better in your clothes, have more energy, feel better about yourself, and even the function of your organs and internal systems will improve.
But have you ever thought about the changes that occurred when you gained weight in the first place? Do you have any idea how much your body was affected beyond just the outward and visible? According to one study, weight gain can cause serious changes down to the genetic level. Understanding this is the first step toward realizing the dangers of weight gain and why it’s so imperative that you get back to a healthy body fat percentage and lean body mass.
In this post, we’re not even going to bother with the better-known downsides of weight gain. We all know about heart disease risk, slower metabolism, reduced energy levels, and all the other side effects of packing on excess body fat.
No, we’re going to focus on the genetic effects of weight gain—specifically, what genetic changes occur as you pack on the pounds.
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The above-mentioned study followed over 2,300 participants over the course of seven years, mapping their body weight, BMI, body fat percentage, and amount of weight change throughout the period. They looked at the genetic effects of weight gain and found the following aspects of your body were negatively affected:
Metabolism – As expected, weight gain slowed the metabolism, and the genetic metabolite modules were visibly affected by the increase in weight and body fat.
Cholesterol – Not only was the “bad” LDL cholesterol affected by the weight gain, but also the VLDL and “good” HDL cholesterol. Expression of the good cholesterol decreased overall, while the levels of the bad cholesterol were visibly higher. Triglyceride levels were also noticeably increased.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids – The body’s use and absorption of BCAAs was changed as a result of weight gain.
Red Blood Cells – A gene expression module indicated the potential for weight change to affect the development of the red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients around the body.
Insulin – Insulin sensitivity was negatively impaired, which had the potential to lead to higher instances of insulin resistance.
Mitochondrial – Mitochondrial function was decreased as a result of weight gain, leading to less energy available in the body’s muscle cells.
When the scientists combed over all the data, the results were pretty visible. As the study said, “weight gain and weight loss showed largely opposing associations.” The participants that lost weight showed improvement to their body at a genetic level, while people who gained weight showed a decline.
Obesity isn’t just a potential threat; it’s an epidemic sweeping the globe. In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults around the world were overweight, with 650 million of those being fully obese. As evidenced by the data above, obesity and weight gain are having seriously negative effects, effects that can change the body down to the genetic level.
The problem is that the changes lead to a downward spiral. The more weight you gain, the more changes occur in your body, which simply increases your chance of more weight gain. The effects may be minute at first, but they eventually snowball until your health is seriously impacted in the long-term.
But can the trend be reversed? The answer is yes. We can awaken our healthy genes by understanding the underlying environmental and dietary factors that contribute to weight gain.
If you are looking for inspiration and motivation to get started on your journey to awaken your healthy genes, then we invite you to learn more about our ZONIA exclusive community and video-streaming platform where you can get an instant access to hundreds of educational videos across all areas of health and lifestyle.
Study Link: https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-015-0282
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