Low fat? Low carb? Your genes might hold the key to weight loss results

Kim LaCapria - Author

Jun. 15 2013, Updated 9:59 p.m. ET

You only need to disclose your preferred method of weight loss in a group of people or on an internet forum to discover how strongly many folks feel about how to successfully lose weight.

Perhaps you easily gain weight when you don’t count grams of fat- or maybe you’re like me, and can eat anything you want as long as it’s a dead animal or a low-glycemic vegetable. These observations may not be all in your head- studies indicate that genetics may influence which style of eating will cause steady weight loss or consequently, a predictable upward creep on the scale. Stanford University followed a group of women for a year, and the WSJ breaks down the science:

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In a study involving 133 overweight women, those with a genetic predisposition to benefit from a low-carbohydrate diet lost 2 1/2 times as much weight as those on the same diet without the predisposition. Similarly, women with a genetic makeup that favored a low-fat diet lost substantially more weight than women who curbed fat calories without low-fat genes. The women were followed for a year.

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Interestingly, the study indicates that 45% of “white women” have a low-carb genotype, while 39% are predisposed to low-fat weight loss. While the results of the study need to be replicated and confirmed, initial findings indicate that this type of genetic knowledge could eventually facilitate a higher rate of success in weight-loss regimens. Dr. Christopher Gardner, a co-author of the study, says the findings could be significant if applied correctly:

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Just matching the right diet with your genes doesn’t guarantee significant weight loss for everyone, Dr. Gardner cautioned. If low-carb people make a diet out of low-carb cupcakes, he said, they’re unlikely to see the results they want on a scale.

“It’s not the end of the obesity epidemic,” Dr. Gardner said. “But we need every leg-up we can get.”

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