Researchers at Tulane University in New Orleans have discovered that people who have a healthy diet to lose weight can get better results when they have a higher genetic risk of obesity.
"Healthy eating habits are decisive against overweight, and its effects are even more evident in people with high genetic risk," said researcher Lu Qi, of the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine of Tulane and the study's principal author.
The study, British Medical Journal, included 8,828 nurses and 5,218 physicians, and evaluated their diet by awarding more points for a higher one. Food intake associated with a lower risk of chronic diseases (such as fruits, vegetables, cereals). or legumes).
To assess the genetic risk of obesity among participants, they focused on 77 small variations in DNA that have been associated with obesity in Europe. The people who obtained a genetic copy of each father and the researchers scored the genetic risk from 0 to 154, according to the total number of versions of genes related to obesity, known as alleles, that participants could inherit from their parents.
In general, the nurses had an average risk score for genetic obesity of 69.5, while the physicians had a risk of 69.3. And on average, each 10-point increase in the risk of genetic obesity was associated with a weight gain of 0.05 kilos every four years.
However, during the 20 years of follow-up, the relationship between weight gain and risk of obesity, genetics was strongly influenced by the quality of the diet, and those with the highest genetic risk were those who benefited the most from their diet. healthy nutrition .
Every four years, increases in the quality of the diet were associated with a weight loss of 0.35 kilograms in people with low genetic risk of obesity, and up to 0.5 kilograms in those who had a higher risk.
Despite the finding, the authors admitted that the study was not designed to help identify dietary habits, but also influenced weight gain for people with different genetic risks for obesity.
Likewise, another limitation of the study is that the researchers relied on the study participants when reporting what they eat and drank, which is not always the case when defining their eating habits.