A new piece of research by scientists in the United States and the UK has found that a so-called ‘lean gene’ could mean that thin people are less healthy than those classified as obese, and put them at a greater risk of conditions such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
The study, which involved analysis of the genetic code of more than 75,000 people and was published in the journal Nature Genetics, revealed that the lean gene, called IRS1, hides the danger of potential risk of these conditions, and could explain why a fifth of people with type 2 diabetes are of a healthy weight .
Douglas Kiel, from Harvard Medical School, commented “People, particularly men, with a specific form of the gene are both more likely to have lower percent body fat, but also to develop heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In simple terms, it is not only overweight individuals who can be predisposed for these metabolic diseases .”
The lead British researcher on the project, Ruth Loos, also stated “What we’ve discovered is that certain genetic variants keep you lean by reducing how much fat you store under your skin. We don’t know for sure, but we can speculate that these individuals are then more predisposed to store fat elsewhere, such as in the liver and in muscle .”

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