Some of us have gotten comments about our weight from relatives during Chinese New Year, and they don’t mince their words.
“Ah boy, you look fatter now ah.”
The words sting but you brush it aside by saying that being overweight runs in the family. But is that truly the case or is it a lack of discipline when it comes to food?
If you’ve been telling people you can’t lose weight because of genetics, it turns out you may be wrong. The Guardian recently revealed that an individual’s weight loss is determined by what they eat and not through their genes.
Stanford University researchers tested 609 overweight adults with specific high and low carb diets for a year and found that their average weight lost was between 5kg and 6kg. Their genetics had no influence over this result.
Instead, it was what the participants ate that affected their weight loss progress, indicating that dietary habits are the primary factor.
“We eat to fill our stomach and, if that’s with vegetables, we tend to lose weight, whereas if it’s with chocolate or French fries, flushed down with a soda, we gain weight,” said Prof Lennert Veerman from the School of Medicine at Griffith University in Queensland.
Dr Rosemary Stanton, a leading Australian nutritionist from the school of medical sciences at the University of New South Wales, highlighted the significance of this study as it underscored the importance of what we choose to put in our bodies. For example, eating vegetables over sugary and fatty foods will make a big difference.
However, Dr Stanton also suggests that purely counting macronutrients will not help in finding the right kind of high quality foods.
“Some previous studies that have damned carbohydrates have not taken note of the foods that supplied it,” Stanton said. “For example, lentils and lollies are both ‘carbs’ but one is a nutrient-dense high quality food while the other is junk. Simply calling them ‘carbs’ does not provide this vital distinction.”
If all this sounds tricky and complex, don’t worry, you can always start simple. As long as you make the right choices, you won’t have to face the same comments from the same aunty next year.
By Gilbert Wong, Men’s Health Content Producer