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Genetics

My Body Beware – 4

I have diabetes in my family history. My Dad has Type II, so did an aunt of mine, and my Great Aunt died of it. As a chubby (sort of) kid with that kind of family history, it’s not surprising that my blood sugar has been tested on a regular basis through most of my life. And it’s fine. Always has been. But blood sugar is only the second half of the equation. The first half is how the body reacts to insulin – and mine doesn’t.

Insulin does a lot of things but its biggest job is to control the carbohydrates I eat and transmit the processed glucose to the cells in my body, so I can use that energy. If the cells don’t open up to receive the glucose, my body produces more insulin to force the cells open and to deal with the glucose running loose in my body. This is insulin resistance (a very simple explanation, sorry), and the worst thing about it is a) it stops you losing weight and b) if untreated, leads directly to Type II Diabetes. (more…)

Once Upon a Time…

Glyptodon
Image via Wikipedia

Once upon a time, it was a good thing to be fat. No, seriously, it was. Of course, that was some time ago, and well, we were all a lot hairier and had a tendency to eat our meat raw – but it was still a good thing to be able to put on weight. It was so good, in fact, that most of those who survived the daily challenges of life, were those who could put on weight.

Okay, that was 10,000 years ago, but in reality, that’s not even a blink in terms of the evolution of the human body.

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Causes of Obesity Part 4 – Genetics

I remember years ago watching an interview with a very successful sportsman, whose parents had also been successful in sport. He was asked how much less work he’d had to do, coming into the sport with what was obviously a genetic advantage. His answer was memorable: “Sure, I have the genes to be good in this sport, but if all I did was sit around at home doing jigsaw puzzles, the genes wouldn’t make one jot of difference.”

Okay, so we’re not all world-class sportsmen here – but there’s a powerful grain of truth in his response. Good genes didn’t make him a champion – they only helped. Doing all the hard work was what made him a champion. In terms of the causes of obesity, the same principle applies – genetics make a contribution, but for most of us, they’re not the beginning and end of the story. Other factors also play a part. Some of those factors might have no relationship to the genes, but others might have a direct effect.

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