Thrifty Gene Hypothesis

A slew of scientific words may pop to mind when talking about genes. Chances are, though, that “thrifty” isn’t usually among them – unless you’re a geneticist.

The Thrifty Gene Hypothesis supposes that the high prevalence of Type 2 diabetes and obesity is a consequence of genetic variants that have undergone positive selection during historical periods of erratic food supply, according to a paper published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

Put another way, what makes this particular genetic marker thrifty is that they may allow us to store calories more efficiently – to hold on to those calories so that we have stores of energy available during times when resources are scarce. No, we’re not talking about when you’re too busy to run to the grocery store. Think long periods of time, like the late Middle Ages, when famine was rampant throughout Europe.

Evolutionarily speaking, this was advantageous because people who could hold calories longer and burn them slower survived famines. Now, though, with food more easily available – especially in western, industrialized countries – the thrifty gene may contribute to obesity and related health problems, such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

True Fit for Me has four markers in our test that would be considered thrifty: ADRB2-16, ADRB2-27, ADRB3-64 and PPARG-12. Knowing this information allows you to understand how your body processes and stores calories. Plus, it also may add useful information to your exercise plans, as people with these markers need to have a higher-intensity exercise plan to burn calories.


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