Last Updated on August 28, 2020
Genes, joules, or gut bugs: which one is the most to blame when it comes to weight gain?
Joules are just a measure of calories, so the question becomes, what makes people fat? Is it genetics? Is it the number of calories they’re eating, or is it the bacteria in their gut?
It turns out that genetics doesn’t explain weight gain to any significant degree. About 100 genes have been linked to obesity so far. Scientists have determined that only 3% of weight is explained by your genes.
When it comes to gut bacteria, you can lose a bit of weight just by taking probiotics alone. But it’s a very subtle shift in weight that occurs when you improve your gut bacteria. Not insignificant but not enough to be the answer to the obesity epidemic.
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If we look at the kilojoules or the calories in the diet, it’s a totally different ball game. Years ago, they wondered if you took 10% of the calories out of someone’s diet, would they lose 10% of their body weight? And that’s exactly what’s been demonstrated.
In one study of 117 healthy adults, weight loss was found to be commensurate with how many calories were removed from the diet.
The bottom line is that what you eat is the prime determinant of your weight. It’s not the genes; it’s not the gut bugs; it’s the calories that determine your weight.
If you want to lose weight, you need to look at what you eat, when you eat, how much you eat, and why you eat. Stress is an important consideration, as well. Remember that the stress hormone cortisol can increase your appetite and trigger cravings for high-calorie foods. Studies have shown that there is a huge difference in calorie consumption, depending on whether you’re in a low-stress or high-stress state.