There seems to be an endless debate about whether saturated fats are good or bad for your health. The truth is, it depends on your genes. While several genes contribute to how your body reacts to saturated fats, APOA2 gene is one of the them that determines how well you tolerate saturated fats and how well you can transport cholesterol. This article takes a detailed look at why is limiting saturated fat more essential for people carrying certain version of this gene.
From the evolutionary perspective, certain human societies, such as those in the colder northern regions are likely to have subsisted on large intake of fats for hundreds of generations and could have developed adaptations that enable them to metabolize this macro ingredient in food quite efficiently. If you have inherited those genes, then your body is better able to cope with fats intake.
APOA2 gene produces a protein apolipoprotein -II, that is thought to play a role in fat metabolism and obesity . Individuals with sensitive version of this gene are more prone to increased BMI (6.8 times greater BMI), waist circumference, and body weight in response to high levels of saturated fat (more than 22g of saturated fats per day), especially high fat dairy foods than people with non-sensitive version of the gene consuming the same amount of saturated fats. It is important for such individuals to limit their saturated fat intake. However, there was no difference among individuals with both versions, in terms of weight and BMI when saturated fat intake was low (less than 22g per day).
One possible mechanism that could help explain the above gene-diet interactions is the sensitive version of this gene produces lower levels of the protein, APOA2 (regulates the satiety response), resulting in low satiety and greater appetite among individuals with higher saturated fat intake. This appetite may preferably be for foods rich in saturated fat and this higher fat intake would lead to greater weight.