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Genes More Important Than Exercise for Bad Cholesterol

Genes may be the determining factor and may play a more dominant role than exercise// for increasing bad cholesterol as per recent study.

Now we know why some people never gain weight or increase their cholesterol despite eating all the sweets and butter laden food to their hearts content!!

The July 8, 2005, issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Reports a study looking at 28 pairs of identical twins in whom one was a vigorous exerciser and other a couch potato. They analysed the results on how "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol) responded to diets that were either high or low in fat in both types of twins.

Researcher Paul Williams, said:"Although identical twins share exactly the same genes, we chose these twins because they had very different lifestyles," He further added:"One member of each pair was a regular long-distance runner, someone we contacted through Runner's World magazine or at races around the country. His brother clocked 40 kilometers a week less, at least, if he exercised at all."

The blood tests showed that the twins had very similar changes in LDL cholesterol irrespective of their lifestyles. It was found that some twins had one or more genes that made them very sensitive to the amount of fat in their diets whereas other twins had genes that made them insensitive to dietary fat, no matter how much they exercised.

"Our experiment shows how important our genes are," says Williams. "Some people have to be careful about their diets, while others have much more freedom in their dietary choices."

He adds, "This type of experiment allows us to test whether genes are important without having to identify the specific genes involved."

"Concordant lipoprotein and weight responses to dietary fat change in identical twins with divergent exercise levels," by Paul T. Williams, Patricia J. Blanche, Robin Rawlings, and Ronald M. Krauss, appears in the July 8, 2005, issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The work was supported by Dairy Management Incorporated, with additional support from the National Institutes of Health.

Scientific contact: Paul T. Williams, (510)486-5633,
Media contact: Paul Preuss, (510) 486-6249,

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI), conducted by Paul Williams of Berkeley Lab's Life Sciences Division in collaboration with Robin Rawlings and Patricia Blanche of CHORI and Ronald M. Krauss of CHORI and Berkeley Lab's Genomics Division.


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