Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages vs Weight Gain Part 3

Just 2 days ago, we looked at the link between consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages & weight gain in children.  Yesterday, we looked at the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages & weight gain in adolescents.  So it seems a propos that we look at how sugar-sweetened beverages affect adults in the 3rd of 3 studies published early online last Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine.  In fact, the authors concluded that sugar-sweetened beverage consumption was linked to greater genetic predisposition to obesity.  So perhaps nurture is impacting nature?  While it may appear intuitive that drinking calories devoid of nutritional value would lead to weight gain, this study only proves an association but not cause & effect.

Thanks to modern technology, scientists have located at least 32 areas of our genome associated with body mass index (obesity).  The authors developed a genetic-predisposition score based upon said loci and compared this to consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in 6,934 women (Nurses' Health Study) and 4,423 men (Health Professionals Follow-up Study).  They then took it one step further and compared this genetic predisposition score to sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in 21,740 women (Women's Genome Health Study).  The findings were similar in each case: greater consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with greater genetic predisposition towards obesity.

Nature vs nurture.  Genes vs environment/experience.  We've always questioned which matters more.  This study supports a link between the two.  I'm not convinced we should throw up our hands & blame our eating habits on our genes but it would certainly appear that our eating habits do have some association with our genes.  Chicken or egg, anyone?

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  1. Sadly, those with genetic predisposition toward obesity have to work extra hard to combat our culture's up-sizing of portions and processed foods. Don't give in, people!

  2. You cheated & saw today's post ( re how moderate-to-vigorous exercise can mitigate some of our genetic predisposition to obesity. Thanks for taking the time to read (comment on) my posts!