Do These Genes Make Me Look Fat?


Answer: Yes, and potentially droolingly incompetent.

Let me explain by also explaining why I’m trying to go without refined sugar for an entire year.

I’m not going sugar-free because I’m fat. Well, I’m sort of fat for Boulder. Boulder is home to low-BMI uber-athletes and juice-fasters of every stripe who look like this:

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Did someone say triathlon?

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I’m looking for a spot to read my book.

Whereas I’m sort of like the above photo.

Like the lab, I’m not fat but kinda … curvy, which sounds good except that my curves don’t land on my boobs, butt and thighs, but in the belly. If I so much as think of a carb, the pooch increases (I just thought of a donut and had to unsnap my jeans). This style of weight gain—apple as opposed to pear—is not just unhealthy, but for me and my genes, it’s potentially disastrous.  Here’s why: My father had nine (9) siblings. Two died young and five had or have type-2 diabetes followed by dementia or Alzheimers. Dad’s mother, my grandmother, and his aunt also had diabetes and dementia. Diabetes and Alzheimer’s are demonic bedfellows (with the former leading the latter to bed) so much so that Alzheimer’s Disease is sometimes referred to as Type 3 Diabetes.

My family odds for developing D2 and dementia (a symptom of Alzheimer’s) are pretty shitty. Of course, I backed this up by yanking the genetic skeletons out of my closet on 23andMe, a site that will, in return for cash and spit, give you your genetic risks (and strengths) and ancestry reports. My report in sum: I’m a northern European Viking girl who has slightly higher odds of blood clots, Alzheimer’s and Celiac disease, but no spooky inheritable diseases or lethal cancers that might make me want to lop off my good curves. Also on the upside, I’m a natural sprinter, so if mountain lion stalks me while I’m out running I’m all set. Actually, I don’t run. I lack that triathlete gene that compels people to keep running on their bone stumps because their feet have fallen off.

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Does my gene report or shitty family odds mean that I’ll automatically get the stuff I’m predisposed to? No. Some people without the genetic predisposition will court certain diseases or scary conditions while other people with the SNPs will skate. Given my family history and misplaced curves, why play with fire?

As if I needed more convincing, smart friends suggested that I see That Sugar Film, which documents one man’s health decline after eating processed foods with sugar for a few months (he didn’t eat candy or desserts—he just ate a typical diet of processed foods). If you haven’t seen this film, run like the wind—like a Boulder triathlete or a whippet dog—to watch it online. I watched it with my kids because I’m that fun mom.

So there’s a long-winded answer to why I’m going a year without sugar: Because if I let my genes make me look fat, it’s likely that trouble is gonna rain down on me like hot shit from Mars.

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