April 10, 2007
Genetic Variation Makes Olive Oil A Weight Loss Food

A genetic variation seems to prevent higher fat consumption from contributing to obesity.

Boston — Research published in the Journal of Molecular Medicine examines how calories from fat, carbohydrate, and protein might interact with genes to affect body mass index (BMI), or body weight-for-height, and risk of obesity among adults in the Framingham Heart Study. Jose Ordovas, PhD, director of the Nutrition and Genomics Laboratory at the Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University, and colleagues analyzed several common gene variants known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the apolipoprotein A5 gene (APOA5), which produces a protein (APOA5) involved in the metabolism of fats in the body. For 13 percent of people in the study with a specific SNP (-1131T>C), dietary fat intake was not significantly associated with BMI and risk of obesity.

Genetic testing will eventually allow us each to choose an optimal diet for our own genetic profiles. This report illustrates how nutritional genomics will enable us to customize our diets so that we each eat the diet that best works for our personal genetic profile.

For the people who carry this genetic variation the consumption of monounsaturated fats actually appears to keep weight off.

Ordovas determined that the interaction between the specific SNP (-1131T>C) and dietary fat was strongest for monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), found in foods such as olive oil and canola oil. People with the specific SNP who consumed 11 percent or more of total calories as MUFAs had a lower likelihood of obesity. “Basically, it appeared that the interaction of the specific SNP with MUFAs was the reason that fat intake did not affect BMI for this group,” says Ordovas. “This interaction between APOA5 and dietary MUFA intake may explain why the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in MUFAs, is not generally associated with an increase in body weight. However, more studies are needed to confirm this.

Yes, if you have this genetic variation you might need to pour more olive oil on your food in order to stay skinny! Science sure can be fun.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2007 April 10 09:57 PM  Brain Appetite

Engineer-Poet said at April 11, 2007 5:49 AM:

It would be interesting to find that this SNP is highly prevalent in Italians vs. others.

Arnold Kling said at April 11, 2007 9:44 AM:

This might explain why Seth Roberts' Shangri La diet works well for some people, but did nothing for me. One of his options is to consume extra-light olive oil.

S. Cormack said at April 11, 2007 9:59 AM:

This sounds similar to the blood-type diet, in which the doctor says that type Os do better with fats and meats than others.

adin said at April 15, 2007 4:00 PM:

It does sound familiar, though this differs in that it has actual science behind it.

While the theory of individualized dietary needs for enhanced functioning and weight control is becoming well established, everything I've read in the "blood-type" diet and similar books is complete quackery.

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