Scientists find new evidence that some people are naturally thinner
New research suggests that differences in a single gene may have a big effect on weight gain, by controlling the rate of metabolism.
The new findings back up the idea that some people “burn off” calories more easily than others, and stay slim effortlessly.
The FTO gene has long been linked to weight-gain, but scientists have not understood how it works.
New research, reported in the journal Nature, suggests that the FTO gene may govern how much energy is released from the body as heat, rather than being stored as fat.
Experiments on mice without the FTO gene showed they remained lean regardless of how much they ate, and how inactive they were. It was found that the mice were able to spontaneously burn off enormous amounts of energy as heat, thus disposing of excess calories rather than storing them as fat.
It is known that people with a high-risk version of the FTO gene weigh an average 3kg more than those with a low-risk version, according to a report in the Telegraph. Previously scientists have believed that this is because the gene affects appetite, and thus how much people eat. It now appears that the relationship is more complex.