“Must be my thyroid.” That’s what a lot of us say after we’ve packed on the pounds. It can’t be the 3,500-calorie, high sugar and high fat diet we’re consuming, eh? Well, I have good news – there are some weird things out there that can truly make you fat and give your excuse-making a little flare and savoir faire.
1. Viruses. Many viruses have been found to promote obesity in animals and scientists are now speculating that they likely cause the same in humans.  Turns out they can harm the hypothalamus and pituitary which control appetite, metabolic rate and energy consumption.
2. Your Father. This one is really bizarre. It turns out the way your Dad ate at conception, as in yours, can profoundly influence your DNA and make it easier for you to put on weight for the rest of your life. Scientists are just now discovering that if dear ol’ dad ate a high fat diet when he was busy bringing you into the world, it actually can change your epigenome. Epigenomes are molecules attached to our DNA that either turn on or turn off genes.  And, for the coup de grace, your dad’s high fat diet also predisposes you to diabetes as well. For more details, read my link on the Strange World of Epigenetics.
3. Obesogons. Chemicals can also program you for a lifetime of fatness. Scientists have discovered a whole family of chemcals that induce the birth of new fat cells during organogenesis, i.e. the very earliest stages of your development when organs and tissues are first forming. That’s the last thing any of us need are new fat cells, that we wouldn’t have had in the first place, terraforming around our precious midsection. Remember: unless you do lipo, you get to keep those fat cells for the rest of your life. For more information, see my link on Obesogons.
4. Your Mom’s Pregnancy Diet. Scientists recently discovered that if your mom ate a low carb diet when she had you, she unknowingly changed your epigenome (via methylation) and switched on a gene that greatly increases your chances for obesity.  (For more dangers of a low carb diet, see my link on The Potential Dangers of a Low Carb Diet.
1) Obes Rev, 2010 Apr, 11(4):289-96. Epub 2009 Oct 27, “Viral obesity: fact or fiction?”
3) Diabetes, April 6, 2011,”Epigenetic Gene Promoter Methylation at Birth Is Associated With Childï¿½s Later Adiposity”