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Healthy diet attenuates weight gain

22 Jan 2018

Healthy eating pattern in individuals with a high genetic risk for obesity helps attenuate weight gain, a new study with over 20 years of follow-up has shown.

“For the first time, we have shown that improving adherence to healthy dietary patterns can diminish the genetic association with weight gain,” said study author Dr Tiange Wang from the Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, US.

Wang and team looked at 77 genetic variants associated with body mass index (BMI) in 8,828 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study and 5,218 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

At baseline, women had a mean age of 54, a mean BMI of 26 kg/m2, and a mean weight of 68 kg, and men had a mean age of 55, a mean BMI of 26 kg/m2, and a mean weight of 82 kg. Adherence to healthy diets resulted in least increases in BMI in people with a high genetic risk for obesity.

“Weight gain associated with genetic predisposition can be at least partly counteracted by improving adherence to healthy dietary patterns,” said Wang. “Importantly, for people who are genetically predisposed to obesity, improving adherence to a healthy diet is more likely to lead to greater weight loss.”

“It is imperative to acknowledge the challenges of achieving a healthy diet in an obesity-promoting environment in which unhealthy food options are cheap, readily available in large portions, and heavily marketed,” commented Louisa J Ells, a reader in public health and obesity at Teesside University, Middlesbrough, UK in an accompanying editorial.

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