There are two pieces of good news that come with this latest research. The first is that, because science can tell us when these genes have become activated, it may soon be possible for us to take a simple blood test that tells us whether we’re going to become obese or diabetic and a medication that can “disarm” those genes and reverse our fate. But the more immediate good news is that there are little things you can do today to cut the wires and leave those switches turned off for good. Here are 5 ways to delete your fat genes:
1. Cut down on saturated fats and sugar.
You know fat and sugar is bad for you, but what’s really interesting is the new research on how they conspire with your genes to set you up for weight gain. Foods high in saturated fats seem to cause weight gain even if calorie intake stays the same. Researchers believe there’s an epigenetic factor at work. The combination of sugar and fat has been dubbed “an obesogenic environment,” much in the same way a toxic waste dump might be called a “carcinogenic environment”.
2. Avoid canned foods.
In particular, a compound called BPA, or Bisphenol-A. Used to make plastic softer, it’s found in some plastic containers and also in the thin plastic linings of food cans. Research has indicated that it may have an epigenetic effect on humans. BPA leaks into foods that are acidic or fatty, like tomatoes, tuna, and baby formula.
3. Go for a morning walk.
Bizarre but true: Recent research published in the journal PLOS ONE found that getting direct exposure to sunlight between 8 am and noon reduced your risk of weight gain regardless of activity level, caloric intake, or age. It’s possible that morning light synchronizes your metabolism and undercuts your fat genes.
4. Don’t buy microwave dinners.
Flame retardants, which are used in food packaging for microwave popcorn and other nuke-it-fast foods, have been linked to adipocyte differentiation—in other words, they trigger stem cells to become fat cells.
5. Cut down on antibiotics.
Our gut bacteria play a big role in keeping our fat genes in check, by chomping on fiber and creating short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) such as butyrate, which help tame our genetic propensity for weight gain and diabetes. When we take antibiotics for every sniffle that comes along, we create disorder in our guy bacteria, and undermine their ability to create the SCFAs that keep our fat genes in check.