It is one of life’s great injustices, some people must be extremely careful about what they eat in order to maintain a healthy weight, while others can eat all the deep fried food they like and see no dramatic shift in their weight. So how does this work? What are they doing that you are not?
There is not a straightforward answer to this question, nutrition experts say, “There is genetic, nutritional, and even behavioural factors involved,”. Apparently, the extent to which each of those factors come into play in any given individual will vary.
One of the most critical factors has little to do with body type, metabolism, or performing a spell during a full moon. It is perception. Many people appear to eat whatever they like without gaining weight are not actually eating more than the rest of us, experts note. For example, your friend who eats ice cream on a daily basis might naturally compensate for those extra calories by earing less at another meal or snacking less throughout the rest of the day. Or maybe, when they consume pizza, they are eating slowly, getting full, then stopping after just a couple slices.
If you measured these people’s calories, they might not be consuming as much as you assumed, they are just eating calorically dense foods when they do eat; things other people might have a difficult time not overeating. Exercise can also be a large influential factor here, but it does not have to be at a gym. Some people just move more, even if they are not exactly athletes. For instance, they might fidget or pace, they could have a job that requires a lot of movement or have active kids they need to keep up with.
There is even evidence that some people are genetically predisposed to want to move their body, according to experts. That extra movement can also rev the body’s metabolism, or how much energy your body spends throughout the day, outside of exercise. The more you move, the more the mitochondria within cells of the muscle will increase in number and in their activity. And those are the power plants that are creating energy, using that energy for every little movement you might not think of initially that would burn so much energy.
There is little evidence to suggest that – without exercise – some people are born burning significantly more calories than others, other experts have expressed. But there could be a physical difference between these people that enables them to organically moderate the number of calories they consume without exerting willpower to do so. These other experts have suggested. Numerous nervous system signals and hormones that circulate in our blood interact to tell us when we are hungry or full. This is called the appetite regulatory system, and it may be more sensitive in some people than others, experts report.
One critical hormone involved in this system is leptin. It supports the regulation of how much food we want to consume over longer stretches of time, not just for our immediate meal. So, a person with a more sensitive system could go back for seconds and thirds at a party, then feel full for the next few days and eat less. They tend to automatically sort of recalibrate their energy balance because their appetite signalling system can say “We are good for energy” experts explain.
Genes tend to play a significant role in a person’s tendency to gain or lose weight. Researchers have discovered over 250 different regions of DNA that are connected to obesity, for this study, researchers compared 1,622 healthy people with low body mass index (BMI against 1,985 people with severe obesity and 10,433 control people of an average weight. They discovered that the thin people had fewer genes associated with obesity. But according to the co-author of this study, genes alone do not determine your weight.
“We did not uncover any genes that were exclusively either protecting from obesity or opening the door to obesity. It seems like a continuum,” the co-author suggested.
To conclude, the answer is complex: our tendency to gain weight or maintain our weight is not pre-determined, but it is also not entirely out of our control. There is no genetic switch we can flick whenever we wish to more our weight in either direction. Gaining weight is not necessarily due to a lack of self-control.