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Neil: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute
English. I'm Neil and joining me for this
is Dan.
Dan: Hello.
Neil: And can I say Dan, you're looking
very slim - it looks like your
diet is working!
Dan: This is my normal figure - and I have
not been on a diet. But it looks like you've
actually put on a bit of weight.
Neil: Well I may have a little paunch -
or a fat stomach - but didn't
you know that it's
out of my control? Some of this
has to do with my genes - not the
ones I wear - but
the cells in my body that control
my development. That's what we'll be
discussing in this programme.
Dan: However our audience might
describe themselves - tubby and
overweight or thin and skinny,
which means very thin - they're
more than welcome to join us
on this voyage of discovery.
So let's start with answering a question.
Neil: What's the name of the popular
diet that involves avoiding
eating carbohydrates and in
which you can eat as much fat
and protein as you like? Is it...
a) the Mediterranean diet,
b) the Atkins diet, or c) the Graham diet?
Dan: I've heard of the Atkins diet,
so I'll say b).
Neil: Well, you'll have to wait a bit to find
out. But Dan, you may have also heard of
a crash diet - that's where
someone makes a rapid change
to the types of food they eat
with the aim of losing weight quickly.
Dan: Yes, I know that eating this way
can be risky for your health
and they don't always work.
Neil: That's true and now scientists
have some evidence that shows
that our weight is not just
controlled by what we eat. So it might be
quite natural for someone to be thin
or fat - it's all to do with their genes.
Research published in
the journal PLOS Genetics,
explains how twin studies
have shown that about 40% of the
variation in a person's weight
is affected by their genes.
And also, why thin, but healthy people
have genetic advantages
in terms of maintaining a healthy weight.
Dan: So that means that losing weight
isn't just about having willpower -
that's controlling your own
behaviour to achieve something - it's
actually about something
that's out of our control?
Neil: Yes, possibly. Let's hear
from the study's author, Sadaf Farooqi,
who is Professor of
Metabolism and Medicine at the
University of Cambridge, and has been
a pioneer in the genetics of obesity
for more than twenty years. Obesity,
of course, is where someone is very
overweight, in a way that is dangerous for
their health. Here she is speaking on the
BBC World Service programme,
Health Check. What does she say
might be one of the benefits of this
research for people who are overweight?
Sadaf Farooqi: It actually can be very
helpful in trying to get them
to come to terms with some of the
difficulties they may be having
but also help them engage
with help and support to try and
encourage weight loss... I hope
one of the main outcomes
of this work might be,
to a little bit, to start to get people
thinking about that.
Because people are very
judgemental and tend to think,
look if I can stay thin and control
my weight why can't you? And what I
would say to that is, well the data now
shows that you're probably quite
lucky in terms of the genes that
you have rather than just being
either morally superior
or having better willpower.
Neil: Some interesting thoughts there.
For people who are overweight,
this research can help them
come to terms with the struggle they may
be having to lose weight. When you
come to terms with something,
you start to accept the difficult or
unpleasant situation you are in.
Dan: So I suppose she means
accepting that if you're trying to shed a
few pounds unsuccessfully,
it's not all your fault. And it may stop
people being so judgemental -
that's so quick to criticise
people based on their own beliefs.
Neil: A slim person might say, \"Well,
I ate less and lost weight,
so why can't you?\" - and now
we know things aren't quite that simple.
You are just lucky to have the right genes
but it doesn't make you 'morally superior'.
Dan: So it's not just about
having willpower.
Neil: This research is much more
detailed of course than we have
time to explain here
but for someone who is overweight,
will they feel defeated?
Dan: Absolutely not, according to
Professor Farooqi. For people
who are obese, this research
is helpful. Not only should it give them
hope, it could lead to the development of
medicines to help them.
Neil: But as genes only play a part in our
size and weight, we should
all eat a healthy
diet and do some exercise.
And there is always new research
about the best things to do and
the right things to eat.
Dan: Recently, research published
in the British Journal of Sports Medicine,
said that bursts of high intensity
interval training may be more effective
for weight loss than longer
less intense workouts. A burst is a sudden
and short increase in something.
Neil: Even if diets don't help you
lose weight - eating the balanced diet
can certainly keep you healthy
and make you feel good. And as
I'm talking about diets, why don't I answer
the question I asked you earlier?
What's the name of the popular diet
in which you should avoid eating
carbohydrates but you can have as much
fat and protein as you want? Is it...
a) the Mediterranean diet, b) the Atkins
diet, or c) the Graham diet?
Dan: I said the Atkins diet.
Neil: And that is correct, well done. This
well-known low-carb diet was developed by
the American physician and
cardiologist Robert Atkins in the 1960s.
Others low-card diets
are available!
Dan: Neil, I think it's time we
reminded ourselves of some of the
vocabulary we've discussed today.
Neil: Good idea. Let's talk about paunch -
another name for a fat stomach
that men like me - and you - have.
Dan: Speak for yourself! I'm closer
to skinny - a word to describe
someone looking very
thin and sometimes ill. Our next word was
willpower. If you have willpower, you can
control your own behaviour
to achieve something.
Neil: The next phrase, come to terms
with something means you start to
accept the difficult
or unpleasant situation you are in.
Dan: If you are judgemental, you are
quick to criticise people
based on your own beliefs.
Neil: And finally, we mentioned a burst of
high intensity interval training. A burst
is a sudden and short
increase in something.
Dan: Well we've had a burst of vocabulary
there and it's time to say goodbye. Please
join us next time.
Neil: And of course don't forget
our website, bbclearningenglish.com.
Goodbye.
Dan: Bye!
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Being slim: Is it in our genes?

325 Folder Collection
Sally published on May 17, 2019
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