Is Weight Loss in Your Genes?

Genetic makeup may play an important role in successful dieting and/or weight maintenance. A recent Stanford University study of 133 overweight women surprisingly showed that genes which help regulate fat and carbohydrate metabolism radically influence the amount of weight lost on low fat or low carbohydrate regimens. Patients with a “low carb” genotype did much better on low carbohydrate diets. Conversely those with a “low fat” genotype were much more successful restricting fats.


A currently available genetic test can be used as an outpatient to determine a patients “carb vs. fat” genotype. Preliminary data indicates that 45% of white females have a low carb genotype and 39% have a low fat genotype. Researchers, speculated that genotype testing, if it is confirmed in subsequent studies with larger groups including men and other racial groups, might be an important new consideration in weight control. Dr. Blackshear points out that these studies were not done in a medically supervised intensive weight loss program but only an outpatient, patient-controlled diet. Nevertheless the findings are interesting and may have significant long term implications for weight maintenance if the results prove valid in subsequent studies.

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