What exactly are DNA Diets?
DNA diets are individualized diets based on a person’s genetic data. They are based on nutrigenomics, a relatively new science that examines the effect of genetic variation on the body’s metabolism. These diets involve a genetic test that establishes your genetic makeup. From the test results, a health professional determines the right food and exercise for you so as to maximize your ability to lose weight.
Aren’t DNA diets same as other weight loss diets?
As much as DNA and other weight loss diets involve healthy eating and exercise, there is a difference between the two. Most weight loss diets assume a one-size-fits-all approach. Just as people react differently to the same medication, they also react differently to the same diets. DNA diets are personalized genetic-based diets. They are based on your unique genetic fingerprint obtained from the genetic test. The test aims to establish what type of diet works for you so as to maximize your ability to lose weight.
How does the genetic test contribute to better health and lifestyle?
Your health is the end result to the interaction between genes and lifestyle factors like exercise, diet, stress, alcohol consumption and smoking. Your genetic makeup influences:
- the nutrients your body can use
- how these nutrients are used
- how toxins are removed, and
- the effectiveness of key processes that take place in your body
A genetic test establishes your genetic makeup and comes up with recommendations. These recommendations which include adjusting your diet and exercise program help you have an impact on how your genes function and offset areas where the genes don’t function optimally thus improving your health and lifestyle.
How is the genetic test conducted?
Different DNA diet programs employ different genetic test methods. The most common test method involves you swabbing the inside of your cheek and sending the saliva-coated Q-tip to a company offering DNA diet services. Another test method involves a collection of a tablespoon of spit in a vial. Tests also involve surveys that may be in the form of questionnaires meant to help establish the psychological and behavioural characteristics of a person.
Once your DNA sample is in the hands of the company:
- It is examined in a laboratory. Gene variants are examined in relation to several factors such as how quickly your body metabolizes different nutrients, muscle activity and appetite control.
- Several days later, you receive a report containing an analysis of your genotype along with a meal plan and exercise plan that complements it. Normally, companies have two to six different categories. The test findings enable an individual to be placed in the most suitable category for him or her. For example, you may be placed in low fat-high exercise category or low carb-moderate exercise category.
What exactly is contained in the report?
The report will contain test results and precise recommendations based on these findings. You are likely to get most if not all of the following:
- Ideal diet composition – This tells you how much carbohydrate, protein and fat you should take.
- Ideal exercise intensity and duration – This tells you whether you need to focus on long slow endurance, high-intensity intervals or somewhere in between.
- Exercise performance potential – This tells you whether you are suited to power, strength or endurance activities.
- Detoxification – This tells you how your genetic factors influence how well your detoxification system works
- Antioxidant status – How your genetic factors influence your body’s ability to neutralize free radicals
- Insulin sensitivity -How genetic factors influence your body’s ability to control blood glucose levels
- B-Vitamin Status – B-vitamins play an important role in energy metabolism and many other physiological functions
- Bone Health
I contacted My Gene Diet , one of the leading websites here in the UK offering DNA based diet and asked for a sample of the report they send to each of their customers. So click the following link to open it: Example MGD report
What are the costs of DNA diet testing?
DNA diet testing can cost anywhere between $150 and $400 (£99 and £250). The exact cost depends on whether the company can charge for the test alone or has to include costs of other services such as consultations.
DNA tests are breaking into every walk of life these days; top athletes use DNA tests to determine how they can achieve maximum results, and as you already know DNA tests have long been part of finding cures for different illnesses. DNA diet tests are a relatively new concept in the nutrition world though. Trials have not been big and diverse. However, the fact that world elite athletes use the exact same kind of tests to identify what they should eat and how they should train just shows how effective they can be.
There have been some medical trials that have been carried out to show their effectiveness as well. One trial carried out at Stanford University involved 141 women on four diets: Ornish (very low-fat), Zone (low-carb), Atkins (ultra-low-carb) and a standard government-recommended program. The women’s DNA samples were also taken. One year later, the women whose diets and genetic makeup matched lost 2.5 times more weight than those women whose weights didn’t match (13.2 pounds in comparison to 4.5 pounds respectively)
Interleukin Genetics, a Massachusetts-based company, did a small study and put about half of 34 individuals in an employee-weight loss program involving on a diet based on the Stanford University trial patterns. The individuals whose diets matched their DNA lost twice as much weight as those on a standard regimen.
A trial involving the Nordiska diet, a DNA diet developed with the help of experts at Newcastle University, on 7,700 people in Denmark saw nine out of every ten lose weight. Some lost as much as 26 pounds in 4 months.
Which DNA diet plan is best for me?
The DNA diet market is still in infancy stage. There is not much regulation in the market. It is therefore important that you take great care when subscribing to a diet program. Make sure the company is reputable and has accredited dieticians and other practitioners. Before you attempt any diet, consult your doctor to help you fully understand the implications of your health and any potential side effects from interactions with your medications or supplements.