Discipline, Appetite, and the FTO gene

Written by Joe Cohen, BS | Last updated:

It’s not all about willpower and discipline.

Social media leads you to believe that everything can be conquered if you just set your mind to it.

And while it is important to have strong discipline, trying to develop discipline without understanding your body is extremely difficult.

One of the key topics that influencers focus on is diet.

The truth is, your relationship with food is heavily influenced by your genes.

There are thousands of genes that affect your diet and nutrition.

To highlight just how impactful your DNA is to your diet, I’m going to dive into how just ONE of these genes – the FTO gene – influences everything from our appetite to why you might have a hard time resisting comfort foods.

By understanding your unique genetic blueprint, you’ll be able to explore practical strategies tailored to your genetic makeup, empowering you to optimize your health and reach your goals.

FTO and Emotional Eating

Why do we reach for comfort food when we’re not even hungry?

The FTO gene can influence the brain’s reward pathways, which are intimately connected with our emotions and how we experience pleasure from eating.

When we indulge in foods high in sugar or fat, our brain releases dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter.

Some variants of the FTO gene can cause you to experience a stronger activation of these reward pathways when you eat, leading to a heightened sense of pleasure.

So in moments of stress, sadness, or even boredom, the brain starts seeking the comfort of that dopamine rush. And since your genetic variant makes that rush more intense, you’re more likely to reach for the comfort food of your choice.

FTO and Appetite

Ghrelin, often called the “hunger hormone,” is produced in the stomach and signals to the brain that it’s time to eat.

When you eat, your ghrelin levels decrease and leptin levels – the body’s satiety signal – increase, but this doesn’t always happen efficiently.

The negative variant of the FTO gene can lead to higher levels of ghrelin, even after you’re done eating.

This means that you might feel hungrier more often, and the feeling of fullness might take longer to arrive, if it fully does at all.

I carry only one of the negative alleles, putting me in typical likelihood of emotional eating and a stronger appetite.

But by understanding which genetic variant you carry, you can make dietary choices that may reduce and even cancel out the harmful effects of the negative variant.

Using Your Genes To Find The Perfect Diet

If you carry the negative FTO gene, eating a low-fat diet or replacing saturated fat with healthy fats will negate the negative effects of the gene.

But, while the FTO gene plays a crucial role in our relationship with food, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Our bodies are influenced by thousands of genetic variations, each affecting how we metabolize foods, our hunger signals, and even our predisposition to certain nutrients.

The Diet & Nutrition Report analyzes your genetic variants to provide you with the optimal diet and macronutrient split based on your goals.

You’re also able to see what vitamins and minerals you might need more of, based on your genetics.

In my case, I have an increased need for vitamins B2 and B9.

If you click through on any one of these, you’ll get a detailed explanation of what genes are specifically impacting your ability to absorb vitamins and minerals.

In my case, both B2 and B9 are impacted by my negative variant of the MTHFR gene, which decreases my folate levels and increases homocysteine.

With SelfDecode, you can unlock the power of personalized nutrition with the Diet & Nutrition Report today, and take the first step towards a diet that’s perfectly tailored to your unique genetic makeup.

Embark on your journey to optimal health and nutrition, guided by your DNA ⬇️


About the Author

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen flipped the script on conventional and alternative medicine…and it worked. Growing up, he suffered from inflammation, brain fog, fatigue, digestive problems, insomnia, anxiety, and other issues that were poorly understood in traditional healthcare. Frustrated by the lack of good information and tools, Joe decided to embark on a learning journey to decode his DNA and track his biomarkers in search of better health. Through this personalized approach, he discovered his genetic weaknesses and was able to optimize his health 10X better than he ever thought was possible. Based on his own health success, he went on to found SelfDecode, the world’s first direct-to-consumer DNA analyzer & precision health tool that utilizes AI-driven polygenic risk scoring to produce accurate insights and health recommendations. Today, SelfDecode has helped over 100,000 people understand how to get healthier using their DNA and labs.
Joe is a thriving entrepreneur, with a mission of empowering people to take advantage of the precision health revolution and uncover insights from their DNA and biomarkers so that we can all feel great all of the time.


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