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31 January 2007
Half Of Americans Have Mutant Fat Gene

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirms that about half of the U.S. population has a version of a gene that causes them to metabolize food differently. Conducted by researchers from the Saint Louis University, the findings show that affected people are at greater risk of developing diabetes.

The study, conducted by Edward Weiss, looked at a relatively common version of a gene called FABP2, which is involved in the absorption of fat from food. People with the variant gene processed fat differently than those who don't have it. They burned more fat, which may have hindered their ability to remove sugar from the blood stream and burn it. Diabetes is characterized by too much sugar in the blood.

"This study adds to what was previously known about this gene variant by showing that after consuming a very rich milkshake, people with the variant gene process the fat from the drink differently than other people," Weiss says.

But Weiss cautions that not all affected people are destined to get diabetes. "While the variation of the gene appears to contribute to the diabetes risk, it does not cause diabetes by itself," Weiss said. "Many other genes, some known and some unknown, are involved in a person's overall risk of developing diabetes. Those are things a person can't control. But there are risk factors for diabetes that a person can change - lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise."

Related articles:
Obesity Genetic Flaw Under The Microscope

Source: Saint Louis University Medical Center


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