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Genetic clue to yo-yo dieting

28 February 2011
Appeared in BioNews 597

A protein has been linked to a woman's ability to maintain weight loss after dieting, a European study has revealed.

Significant concentrations of the protein Angiotensin I Converting Enzyme (ACE), better known for its role in regulating blood pressure, was found in women who regained weight within six months of dieting when compared with woman who continued to lose weight.

Professor Edwin Mariman, from Maastricht University in the Netherlands and who led the research, said: 'It was a surprising discovery, because until now there has been no clear link between this protein and obesity'. Although hospitals already test for ACE, the tests are usually conducted to monitor its activity in regulating blood pressure and do not look at its concentration.

The exact benefits of the findings remain to be established, however the scientists who undertook the study remain optimistic that the findings could be used to develop personalised programs to improve weight maintenance.

'We do not yet have an explanation for the results', said Professor Mariman, 'but it does appear that it should be possible within a few years to use this finding to develop a test to show who is at high risk of putting weight back on after a diet'.

The study analysed the blood protein levels of 31 proteins and three hormones in 96 women aged between 29-49 years of age. It was published in the online journal, PLoS One.

Blood Profile of Proteins and Steroid Hormones Predicts Weight Change after Weight Loss with Interactions of Dietary Protein Level and Glycemic Index
PLoSONE |  14 February 2011
Experts find clue to yo-yo dieting
Press Association |  23 February 2011
Science finds what causes the yo-yo diet
Daily Express |  24 February 2011
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