How to Turn the Tables on Age and Genetic Effects

Recent research shows the genetic effects of age on fat and weight as people get older.

Genetic Effects of Age on Fat and Weight

First and foremost, research has shown that adults tend to gain an average of 1.1 to 2.2 pounds every year they get older. Furthermore, in-spite of their best efforts to eat right and get some exercise, many people tend to put on weight. It may not be obvious at first. In fact, it may take several years before they realize that. In the meantime, they may get frustrated that despite their best efforts to watch their diet and manage their weight, the weight just keeps inching up.

Now, new research in fat cells, at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, shows why. Researchers studied fat cells from 54 men and women over a 13-year period. And, they found that those who ate the same or more calories gained an average of 20 percent more weight as they got older.

Moreover, researchers found that the rate at which triglycerides, in fat cells, were converted to energy fell as the participants got older. At the same time, the rate at which triglycerides were stored in fat cells increased. By the way, this process is referred to as lipid turnover.

Fat Storage

Especially relevant, fat cells are stored in two types of tissue: White Adipose Tissue and Brown Adipose Tissue. First, the white adipose tissue contains fat cells, known as adipocytes, that are made up of large number of triglycerides. Indeed, these triglycerides contain fatty acids and store energy. Also, the white adipose tissue provides thermal insulation and pads the internal organs. However, excess white fat is not good for you.

Also, in terms of quantity, the white adipose tissue is far greater than brown adipose tissue.

Lipid Turnover

Next, the balance between triglyceride removal and storage is known as lipid turnover. In other words, Lipid turnover = triglyceride removal / triglyceride storage.

Therefore, low lipid turnover means that fewer triglycerides are removed from fat cells to be converted into energy, while more triglycerides are stored in fat cells. Consequently, there is weight gain. Also, this results in a low metabolic rate.

On the other hand, high lipid turnover means more triglycerides are removed from fat cells to be converted into energy, while fewer triglycerides are stored in fat cells. Consequently, there is weight loss. Also, this results in a high metabolic rate.

Genetics Effects Lipid Turnover

The research results indicate, for the first time, that processes in the fat tissue regulate changes in body weight during aging. Most of all, a normal process of aging is characterized by lower lipid turnover or effectively a slower metabolic rate. Consequently, the body uses less energy to function, and as a result there is less 'lipolysis,' or breakdown of fatty acids (which make up triglycerides) into energy.

How to Lose Weight

Most of all, weight loss is driven by our metabolism, microbiome, hormones, nutrient intake, genes, muscle composition, exercise and environmental factors.

Previous research has shown that one way to speed up lipid turnover in fat tissue is to boost the amount of exercise you get. This new research supports that theory. The good news is that you may not be able to control your age and the natural processes that go with it. However, being physically active with high muscle mass, enables you to break down fat and manage your weight.

Genetic Effects

While decreasing lipid turnover results in weight gain as you get older, genes also have a significant say in whether you have wide hips (a pear-shaped body) or an apple shaped body. In fact, research has shown there are hundreds of genes that affect your weight. For example, some genes:

  1. 1
    First, affect where fat is distributed in your body
  2. 2
    Second, impact metabolism and the metabolic rate
  3. 3
    Third, affect craving for unhealthy food
  4. 4
    Even control whether you reach for food to cope with stress.
  5. 5
    Also, influence whether you are overweight by as little as 25% or as much as 80%.

Furthermore, signs that genes could be connected to your natural weight include:

  1. 1
    Having one or both overweight parents
  2. 2
    Having a hard time losing weight even with strict dieting and exercise.

For example, starving yourself puts your body into starvation mode. As a result, the body slows down its metabolic rate and weight loss even more. Moreover, starving can leave you feeling fatigued, cranky from a lack of food, and frustrated about your physical appearance.

However, you are not completely at the mercy of your genes. So, instead of going on a crash diet, focus on:

  1. 1
    First, increase the nutrition quality of the foods you eat.
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    Next, take steps to increase the duration and intensity of your workout regimen.
  3. 3
    Also, take steps to reduce your stress
  4. 4
    In addition, get enough sleep
  5. 5
    Lastly, instead of being obsessed with cutting calories, try cutting out (or at least cutting down on) refined foods and foods with empty calories like many packaged foods.


In conclusion, don’t blame your genes for being overweight. Instead, be proactive and practice a lifestyle consisting of a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, managing your stress, and most of all regular exercise.