Viewpoint: Newsweek’s surprisingly unscientific view of the genetics of obesity


[Editor’s note: Dr. Charles Dinerstein is a retired vascular surgeon.]

In a nod to science, Newsweek reported that there might be genetic underpinnings to obesity. So kudos for hopping on the science bandwagon and for a moment, not writing clickbait. But why not share the actual science instead of dumbing it down to “Regardless of how much you eat, your weight may be out of your hands?”  For the scientifically literate, wishing to learn more, here is what researcher Vann Bennett found. A deficiency in the ANK2 gene, which codes for chemical activity on cell membranes, has been shown to cause obesity in mice. By extension, similar deficiencies in humans are felt to be responsible for their obesity as well.

An unfortunate side effect of this increased absorption of glucose in adipose tissue is that it makes more robust and numerous adipose cells.

Weight gain is more than calories in versus calories out. Our metabolism is more complex than that – having developed over millions of years. And there are clearly more genes involved in obesity than ANK2. There is a polygenic component that real science has been studying for only a little while. Newsweek should have more respect for their readers and simplify the science and not its message.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: No, Newsweek, Obesity Isn’t Caused By A Single Gene

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