By Carol Bogart

Newsflash! Researchers have found the “fat” gene! Overweight people are predisposed to gaining weight in much the same way that kids born to brunette parents are likely to have, gasp!, brown hair.

As early as 2005, the low carb craze had begun to ebb. Diets lose their luster when a body’s pre-set clock reverts back to a predestined weight, and dieters lose interest in self-deprivation.

As evidence, there are the food banks that report big increases in donations from manufacturers of Atkins Diet products. It’s pretty easy to find discounted South Beach diet products, too, despite the lure of the diet’s promise to re-set the body’s insulin clock and make pounds melt away.

Science has reaffirmed that many people genetically programmed to have weight problems have a chromosomal glitch. One that deprives them of normal amounts of dopamine, the feel-good drug released by the brain in response to stress.

The World Health Organization ( estimates that 1.6 billion adults worldwide are overweight and at least 400 million adults are obese. Sadly, I myself have always struggled with my weight. I come by it honestly. My grandfather was portly; grandma was stout; mom was a bit broad in the beam; Aunt Mabel was downright fat and my brother, well, he takes after grandpa.

Nonetheless, with the attendant health issues frequently associated with being overweight – diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis – beginning to manifest their unwelcome selves, I’ve been walking more and eating less.

It’s working. Sort of. Slowly.

I once saw a fat girl on Dr. Phil pointing out that it’s not like you can just “kick” a food addiction. After all, you do have to eat. With other stuff, you can give it up and rid your life of all traces of that which tempts you.

The journal Science reports what researchers call the first clear evidence that a common gene causes some people to gain weight while others don’t. Those studied who have two copies of a variant of the “FTO” gene were 70 percent more likely to be obese. Seventy percent!!!

As always, researchers say they hope their discovery will lead to improved means of preventing and treating obesity. Translated, that may mean they’ve patented their discovery, and a deep-pocketed drug company will buy the rights to develop a drug that will turn off the genetic trigger.

Meantime, it seems to me it might be time to table the fat jokes. It doesn’t seem quite kosher to make fun of people for something they’re born with and just can’t help. Besides, the Centers for Disease Control ( has released an obesity study that says it’s not nearly the killer we’ve always thought. Not as terrible for your health as, say, chronic smoking.

It would be great, wouldn’t it, if everybody accepted everybody for who they are, not what they look like? As Martin Luther King Jr. said, for the content of their character? Hm. What a concept.

Carol Bogart blogs at Contact her at

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