Body weight and body composition (e.g. fatness) are affected by many, many factors, and there is no singular magic pill for weight loss. Your general health status, stress levels, sleep habits, gut microbiota and of course, activity level, all can affect your body weight.
But, so can your genes. And, more and more research continues to support the interplay between your overall diet, your genes and body weight. Case in point? A study published out of Puerto Rico, an island that has a high incidence of excess body weight and related health consequences, looked at the link between eating a Mediterranean diet, body weight and composition and variations in the TCF7L2 gene.
What is the TCF7L2 gene?
TCF7L2 (short for Transcription Factor 7 Like 2) can be found in many parts of the body and is involved in one of the main ways cells communicate, both within the cell itself as well as from one cell to another. The variations in this gene are linked to a number of outcomes, including metabolic differences. At DietCypher, we look at the variations in several genes scientifically shown to affect body weight depending on the amount of fat, carbs and protein people eat, including the TCF7L2 gene.
So, this study caught my eye because they assessed some of the same variations in the TCF7L2 gene that we assess. The authors of the study found that one of the variations was linked to lower body weight, lower body mass index and lower waist circumference when following a Mediterranean diet compared to when the variation was not present.
When we find this variation in the TCF7L2 gene, we have already been recommending a Mediterranean diet as one of the primary diet choices predicted to result in more weight loss. Just like it was shown in the study. (This, of course, is pending the existence of variations of other genes that may have an even larger effect on weight loss with a different diet.) While there is still a lot of research to be done in this exciting field, it's great to see it come to life.