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    Is there a skinny gene?

    It has been often wondered why some people tend to be heavier than others.  This had led many to look for a “skinny gene,” but none has ever been discovered.  There is some evidence that certain bacteria in the gut can be responsible for increased caloric absorption and the gut bacterial flora might be genetically controlled.  Yet, “skinny” gut bacteria are not commercially available!  Differing body fat disposition might be due to some of the issues discussed previously with dietary animal fat absorption.  We know that some genes confer the ability to absorb more lipids through the gut than others, such as the APOE e4 gene.  Many human genes providing for increased use of dietary materials have been highly conserved since adequate food has been a constant struggle for man.  It is only in recent history that abundant food has been available and the ability to efficiently utilize every possible calorie has been a detriment rather than a benefit.

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    Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D.
    Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D., is a consulting professor of dermatology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C. She is investigator, ...


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