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Genetics plays a significant role in obesity, as research has shown that there is a strong genetic component to the development of obesity. Studies have shown that genes can influence a person’s susceptibility to obesity, as well as their body weight, body fat distribution, and metabolism.

Several genes have been identified that are associated with obesity, including the FTO gene, which has been found to be linked with increased body mass index (BMI) and obesity (1). Other genes that have been implicated in obesity include the MC4R, TMEM18, and GNPDA2 genes (2).

In addition to specific genes, there are also genetic variations that can influence an individual’s response to dietary and lifestyle interventions. For example, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that individuals with a specific genetic variation in the FTO gene were less likely to lose weight in response to dietary interventions than those without the variation (3).

While genetics plays a significant role in obesity, it is important to note that environmental factors, such as diet and physical activity, also contribute to the development of obesity. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that changes in lifestyle factors, including a healthy diet and increased physical activity, can significantly reduce the risk of obesity, even among individuals with a genetic predisposition to the condition (4).

In summary, genetics plays an important role in obesity, and several genes have been identified that are associated with the development of the condition. While genetics can influence an individual’s susceptibility to obesity, environmental factors also play a significant role in the development of the condition.


  • Frayling, T. M., Timpson, N. J., Weedon, M. N., Zeggini, E., Freathy, R. M., Lindgren, C. M., . . . Hattersley, A. T. (2007). A common variant in the FTO gene is associated with body mass index and predisposes to childhood and adult obesity. Science, 316(5826), 889-894.
  • Loos, R. J. (2012). Genetic determinants of common obesity and their value in prediction. Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 26(2), 211-226.
  • Livingstone, K. M., Celis-Morales, C., Papandonatos, G. D., Erar, B., Florez, J. C., Jablonski, K. A., . . . Franks, P. W. (2016). FTO genotype and weight loss: Systematic review and meta-analysis of 9563 individual participant data from eight randomised controlled trials. BMJ, 354, i4707.
  • Qi, Q., Chu, A. Y., Kang, J. H., Huang, J., Rose, L. M., Jensen, M. K., . . . Hu, F. B. (2014). Fried food consumption, genetic risk, and body mass index: Gene-diet interaction analysis in three US cohort studies. BMJ, 348, g1610.

Fad diets and their effectiveness in weight management

Fad diets are popular but short-lived eating plans that promise rapid weight loss through extreme or unbalanced dietary restrictions. While they may initially show some weight loss results, their long-term effectiveness and impact on overall health and sustainable weight management are questionable. Here is an overview of the role of fad diets and their effectiveness based on research findings:

Fad Diets and Weight Loss: Fad diets often promote drastic calorie reduction or eliminate entire food groups, leading to rapid weight loss in the short term. However, most of this initial weight loss is often due to water loss and muscle mass reduction rather than fat loss. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that many fad diets result in initial weight loss, but this weight loss is not sustainable over time (1).

Lack of Balanced Nutrition: One of the main concerns with fad diets is their lack of balanced nutrition. Eliminating entire food groups or severely restricting calories can lead to nutrient deficiencies and potential health risks. A review published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics highlighted that fad diets often fail to provide essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which are crucial for overall health and well-being (2).

Long-Term Sustainability: Fad diets are typically difficult to sustain in the long term due to their restrictive nature and limited food choices. Many people struggle to adhere to the rigid rules of fad diets, leading to feelings of deprivation and ultimately abandoning the diet. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated that adherence to a particular diet is crucial for successful weight management, and fad diets are often associated with poor long-term adherence (3).

Negative Psychological Effects: The extreme nature of fad diets and their focus on rapid weight loss can have negative psychological effects on individuals. They can promote an unhealthy relationship with food, leading to feelings of guilt, anxiety, and an increased risk of disordered eating behaviors. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that fad diets can contribute to the development of eating disorders and negatively impact psychological well-being (4).

Evidence-Based Weight Management: In contrast to fad diets, evidence-based weight management approaches emphasize sustainable lifestyle changes, including balanced nutrition, portion control, regular physical activity, and behavior modification. Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine showed that adopting evidence-based weight management strategies, such as a balanced diet and increased physical activity, leads to long-term weight loss maintenance and improved health outcomes (5).

In conclusion, while fad diets may offer initial weight loss, their long-term effectiveness and impact on overall health and sustainable weight management are questionable. Adopting evidence-based weight management strategies that focus on balanced nutrition, portion control, regular physical activity, and behavior modification is recommended for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.


  • Dansinger, M. L., Gleason, J. A., Griffith, J. L., Selker, H. P., & Schaefer, E. J. (2005). Comparison of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone diets for weight loss and heart disease risk reduction: A randomized trial. JAMA, 293(1), 43-53.
  • Johnston, B. C., Kanters, S., Bandayrel, K., Wu, P., Naji, F., Siemieniuk, R. A., . . . Mills, E. J. (2014). Comparison of weight loss among named diet programs in overweight and obese adults: A meta-analysis. JAMA, 312(9), 923-933.
  • Sacks, F. M., Bray, G. A., Carey, V. J., Smith, S. R., Ryan, D. H., Anton, S. D., … & Williamson, D. A. (2009). Comparison of weight-loss diets with different compositions of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. New England Journal of Medicine, 360(9), 859-873.
  • Timko, C. A., & Perone, J. (2005). Rigid and flexible control of eating behavior in a college population. Eating Behaviors, 6(2), 119-125.
  • Bacon, L., Stern, J. S., Van Loan, M. D., & Keim, N. L. (2005). Size acceptance and intuitive eating improve health for obese, female chronic dieters. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 105(6), 929-936.