Influence of FTO rs9939609 and Mediterranean diet on body composition and weight loss: a randomized clinical trial

J Transl Med. 2018 Nov 12;16(1):308. doi: 10.1186/s12967-018-1680-7.


Background: The Mediterranean diet (MeD) plays a key role in the prevention of obesity. Among the genes involved in obesity, the Fat mass and obesity-associated gene (FTO) is one of the most known, but its interaction with MeD remained uncertain so far.

Methods: We carried out a study on a sample of 188 Italian subjects, analyzing their FTO rs9939609 alleles, and the difference in body composition between the baseline and a 4-weeks nutritional intervention. The sample was divided into two groups: the control group of 49 subjects, and the MeD group of 139 subjects.

Results: We found significant relations between MeD and both variation of total body fat (ΔTBFat) (p = 0.00) and gynoid body fat (p = 0.04). ∆TBFat (kg) demonstrated to have a significant relation with the interaction diet-gene (p = 0.04), whereas FTO was associated with the variation of total body water (p = 0.02).

Conclusions: MeD demonstrated to be a good nutritional treatment to reduce the body fat mass, whereas data about FTO remain uncertain. Confirming or rejecting the hypothesis of FTO and its influence on body tissues during nutritional treatments is fundamental to decide whether its effect has to be taken into consideration during both development of dietetic plans and patients monitoring. Trial Registration Id: NCT01890070. Registered 01 July 2013,

Keywords: Body composition; FTO; Mediterranean diet; Nutrigenetics.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Alpha-Ketoglutarate-Dependent Dioxygenase FTO / genetics*
  • Body Composition / genetics*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency / genetics
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics*
  • Weight Loss / genetics*


  • Alpha-Ketoglutarate-Dependent Dioxygenase FTO
  • FTO protein, human

Associated data