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Study Finds Dietary Fat Interacts With Genes

Research finds that for most adults in the Framingham Heart Study, dietary fat intake is associated with body mass index (BMI). However, for 13 percent// of the study population with a specific gene variant within the apolipoprotein A5 gene (APOA5), higher dietary fat was not related to a higher BMI.

Jose Ordovas and colleagues analyzed several common gene variants known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the apolipoprotein A5 gene (APOA5), which produces a protein (APOA5) involved in the metabolism of fats in the body. For 13 percent of people in the study with a specific SNP (-1131T>C), dietary fat intake was not significantly associated with BMI and risk of obesity.

We observed an interaction between APOA5 and dietary fat intake, but we did not see an interaction between APOA5 and carbohydrate or protein intake for any genetic variants of APOA5,” says Ordovas, who is corresponding author of the study.

“For most people in this study, eating more fat was related to a higher BMI. However, for people with a specific SNP (-1131T>C), fat intake was not significantly related to BMI. This contradicts results for most of the study population, where high dietary fat intake was related to obesity,” explains Ordovas, who is also a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts. “These results were true despite a person’s age, sex, physical activity status, or the amount of total calories consumed.”

Ordovas notes that a high fat intake may potentially have health ramifications other than increased weight. However, in terms of weight, “It seems there might be a lucky few — in this study, 13 percent — who can eat any combination of food and maintain a healthy BMI. Whether they eat cheesecake or four pieces of whole wheat bread will not make a difference in their body weight if the foods have the same amount of calories.

“We have all known people that do not watch what they eat, but
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