New research seems to suggest that there is an enzyme that some of us possess that is found in saliva that can help break down starchy foods such as chips, crisps and rice.
The AMY1 gene, which is nicknamed the Atkins Gene after the popular diet has been discovered by a team of researchers at King’ College London and the Imperial College London.
Professor Tim Spector, the lead author of the study had this to say about the discovery:
“These findings are very exciting.”
“The next step is to find out more about the activity of this digestive enzyme and whether this might prove a useful marker or target for the treatment of obesity.”
“In the future, a simple blood or saliva test might be used to measure levels of key enzymes such as amylase in the body and therefore shape dietary advice for both overweight and underweight people.”
“Treatments are a long way away but this is an important step in realising that all of us digest and metabolise food differently – and we can move away from ‘one-size fits all diets’ to more personalised approaches.”
How does the AMY1 gene work?
The AMY1 gene helps produce an enzyme that is found in saliva that is used to breakdown and digest starchy foods.
The study on this gene has shown that those of us who possess more copies of this gene produced more of the enzyme, so were more likely to be slimmer.
It is obvious then that those of us with less of this gene were more likely to find carbohydrates difficult to digest and more likely to be susceptible to weight gain.
At present there is no clear indication how this gene works, whatever the reason it may help us understand why some of us are able to eat whatever we want without gaining weight, while others struggle to keep the pounds off.