Friday, April 14, 2006

So maybe it's not the Famous Amos cookies, but my genes instead?

Cocaine cookies, I call them -- the siren call of the Famous Amos cookies from the vending machine in the lunchroom seduces me the same way the white powder does an addict. (What do they put in those things, anyhow?) It's gotten worse since I gave up cigarettes a few months back. I try different strategies to no avail. I limit the cash I bring to work, but then there's the plastic card reader our vending machine company helpfully installed for the likes of me. But it's gotta stop. I've nearly gained the average weight men put on after stopping smoking (eight pounds, someone said), and I refuse to step up to the next pants size.

I tend to think of this as my secret vice. But maybe it's not just a matter of my own fallen nature -- maybe it's in my genes.
Are you heavier than your friend who eats two cheeseburgers to every one you put away? If you've been blaming it on your genes, you may be half-right, said a Boston professor whose research team just published its discovery of a common genetic variation linked to obesity.

About 10 percent of the population carries DNA with a single, minuscule difference that predicts the likelihood of excess weight, said Michael Christman, chairman of the department of Genetics and Genomics at Boston University School of Medicine.

The study published in the journal Science on Thursday brings researchers one step closer to answering a question that bedevils doctors and dieters alike -- why do we get fat, and what can we do about it?
Maybe the study will lead to something that will help. More likely, it will still be up to me. Oh well -- I guess I can work on the 50% that's not my genes, but my own damn fault. That would save me a good 600-700 calories right there.

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