Some women may be prone to excessive weight gain because their bodies convert excess dietary carbohydrate to fat faster than lean women in a process technically known as de novo lipogenesis, according to research recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The research was conducted by scientists at the Ayr-based Scottish Agricultural College and the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, where they examined the effects of two types of diet on 13 lean and obese women.
Volunteers ate a diet rich in carbohydrates, but providing just enough energy for each woman’s daily requirements, and then an excess energy diet, providing 50% more energy than necessary.

The researchers found that obese women saw a rate of de novo lipogenesis nearly double that of their learner counterparts while on the energy balanced diet, leading to the conclusion that some women may have a higher, maybe genetic, propensity for de novo lipogenesis.

Dr Regina McDevitt, lead researcher, explained to BBC News Online: “It may be the case that under certain dietary circumstances some of us are more efficient at storing excess dietary carbohydrate as fat than others.

“This would obviously have been an important survival tool in evolutionary terms when food availability was not always predictable, but in the modern Western world, where there is an excess of nutrients and energy, it has become a redundant survival tool.”