Your genetics can determine a number of attributes such as your eye colour, the shape of your ears and whether you’re able to roll your tongue.
However, according to recent research, your genetic makeup doesn’t play as significant a role when it comes to your body’s ability to lose or gain weight.
Scientists at King’s College London recently undertook a study to explore how the gut processes and distributes fat by assessing 786 individuals from a cohort of twins.
The researchers examined stool samples from the twins, successfully identifying biomarkers in the faeces that corresponded to an increase in visceral fat around the waist.
Following their analysis of the molecules in the stool samples, they concluded that genetics only partially influenced weight gain, with environmental factors having a far greater bearing.
Only 17.9 per cent of processes that took place in the gut could be linked to hereditary factors.
On the other hand, 67.7 per cent of the processes in the gut were caused by environmental factors such as an individual’s diet.
Dr Jonas Zierer, first author of the study published in the journal Nature Genetics, believes this study could be instrumental in developing treatments for obesity in future.
“This new knowledge means we can alter the gut environment and confront the challenge of obesity from a new angle that is related to modifiable factors such as diet and the microbes in the gut,” he said.
Professor Tim Spector, head of the King’s College London’s Twin Research Group, also professed his excitement over the research group’s findings.
“This exciting work in our twins shows the importance to our health and weight of the thousands of chemicals that gut microbes produce in response to food,” he said.
“Knowing that they are largely controlled by what we eat rather than our genes is great news, and opens up many ways to use food as medicine.”
In April, a study undertaken by researchers from St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto stated that eating pasta as part of a nutritious diet can help an individual shed a few extra pounds.
This challenges the notion that people should eliminate carbohydrates from their diets in order to lead a healthy lifestyle.