Our genes encrypt various traits that determine how we respond to food and which dietary habits are good for us. The so-called gene-diet offers a diet that is personalized to your DNA and is intended to make weight loss final. Make self-running.
I have examined the study situation so far and summarized the pros and cons in this article.
Nutrigenetics – DNA-compliant diet?
The basis for the relatively new possibility of DNA analysis for weight loss is the findings from nutrigenetics. Before we start with the details of the analysis, I would like to give you an insight into this young scientific discipline:
Nutrigenetics is a field of nutrition science that studies the effects of food on gene expression. This means that these DNA tests can tell us in what form our unique set of 23 pairs of chromosomes determines what we should and should not eat.
It has long been known that people react differently to foods, diets or nutrients. A nutrition concept can be particularly successful for person A and it manages to lose 10 kg of weight to that person, while with the same diet the balance stands still in person B.
Similar genetic differences in the diet you know for sure:
- Some people (about 15% of Europeans and > 90% of Southeast Asians) have a gene profile that determines that the enzyme lactase is inactive and therefore does not tolerate dairy products.
- This is similar in the reaction to caffeine or alcohol, which is broken down by some people faster or even more slowly.
Nutrigenetics analyzes these genetic differences, i.e. the variations in the sequence of a gene, and tries to explain the different reactions to them. This is how the DNA test comes about.
How does the DNA test for weight loss work?
The findings of nutrigenetics thus provide the basis for the so-called gene diet and the DNA test for weight loss. DNA analysis is designed to make it easier to lose weight. Various markers related to various important lifestyle factors are tested, including:
- Weight management and body composition,
- Nutrient metabolism,
- Eating habits
- Food intolerances and
- physical activity.
Most of these tests are easy to perform from home. A sent test kit allows you to easily take a saliva sample containing all your genetic information.
After submitting the test kit, the saliva sample is examined by a laboratory.
Some DNA tests examine certain variations of your genes called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Many people have different characteristics of SNPs. These variations concern the difference between a single unit of information (nucleotide) in a particular gene position. The SNPs draw conclusions for the following gene-diet, i.e. metabolic abilities and dietary and exercise trends.
There are also providers that use other elements of DNA testing, such as:
- CNV (copy number variation) – tests structural variations of the genetic material
- INDEL (insertion\/deletion polymorphism) – also analyzed based on the sequences in the nucleotides
After these factors have been studied by the laboratory, your gene profile is compared with a huge database and your individual metabolic type is determined.
What does a weight loss DNA test measure?
A look at the parameters that such DNA test measures and what is important:
Metabolic types of DNA testing
The test can be used to determine certain metabolic types. Depending on the test, different classifications are named here, which basically say the same thing:
- Carbohydrate type – metabolizes carbohydrates better
- Protein and fat type – a classic for low-carb
- Protein type – depending on many proteins
- Mixed types – metabolize all three nutrients very well
The DNA tests can also give conclusions about what genetic predisposition you have in your dietary habits. It has long been known that our sense of satiety is also encoded in the genes, as well as the propensity for obesity6 and the associated risk of the notorious yo-yo effect.
Some tests also provide information about the forms of movement that are conducive to losing weight. It is determined whether you are more of an endurance, strength or mixed type. It measures how much your body forms the known type I and types II muscle fibres. With this knowledge, the fitness program can be adapted much more purposefully.
Why are there certain metabolic types?
We all consist of genetic material, which carries information from millennia and encodes the characteristics of our ancestors.
Due to their geographical location, people have developed different ways of eating and exercising. For example, people in cold regions had to adapt to a high-fat and protein-rich diet – an extreme example is the Eskimo. On the other hand, people from Africa, for example, were more likely to have root vegetables, i.e. Adjust carbohydrates.
In addition, there was later the development of agriculture and livestock breeding, which also left its mark on the genes.
This is how our DNA developed over many millennia. It is assumed that >99% of our genes are the same, but the remaining 1% differ from person to person. It is precisely these genes that determine the differences between us and them serve as the basis for DNA analysis.
What does DNA analysis do – lose weight in a quick run?
After the analysis, you usually receive a detailed evaluation of your result via PDF or in a conversation with the doctor.
Based on your DNA, you are given precise dietary recommendations, which is why this is also called a gene-diet.
Studies show that the DNA test for weight loss is quite successful as participants adopt healthy behaviours and strengthen habits. The subjects changed their dietary habits and adjusted the nutrient profile to their needs.
While an American study showed that the subjects who performed the gene-diet had more success in losing weight, the difference was not statistically significant.
Further studies are difficult to find. The study situation on the effect of the gene-diet is still quite thin and different results are shown.
Most of the experiences of weight loss success through the gene-diet are so far subjective, i.e. large-scale studies are not yet available. Certainly, these will be published more and more in the next few years.
How accurate is the DNA test for weight loss?
A study review from 2017 confirms the scientificity of genetic analyses but points out that so far only a few gene variations have been recorded. Our DNA is very complex and mainly investigated in the direction of known gene defects such as trisomy 21. The link between DNA and our diet has only recently been scientifically investigated.
The field of research in nutrigenetics is therefore still quite young and therefore still has a lot of development.
The study review highlights that DNA testing can take an important step towards personalised nutrition and counteract the gene-diet of rising rates of obesity, obesity and diabetes. In any case, they cause a change in behaviour.
The studies also allow certain criteria to be attached to the DNA tests in order to ensure appropriate accuracy. In order to ensure the quality of the suppliers, the following three factors should be taken into account:
- Scientifically accepted methods of investigation
- sufficient effect strength
- Replicability of results
Conclusion: Are DNA tests recommended for weight loss?
I think it’s great what science can give us insights into our bodies and what’s hidden in our DNA. The field of research in nutrigenetics will grow in the next few years and will produce a large number of studies that will provide us with further insights.
So far, it is not possible to make a clear recommendation for DNA testing for weight loss. However, the methods of the investigation so far are promising and the measurement methods used have been scientifically proven.
Providers, such as our partner Lykon, offer tests that correspond to the current state of research. This test also meets the three quality criteria mentioned above.
So if you decide to take such a test, we would recommend the Lykon myDNA Slim, which you can perform from home via a saliva test.
After the analysis, you will receive individualized dietary and exercise recommendations. You can back up the test result with additional blood markers, which you can also test with Lykon.
For this, you are welcome to use the discount code GESUND15, which Lykon has provided us. This gives you a 15% discount. Here you can get to the test:
If you are doing the tests, you will be happy to share your experiences with us. We are also very interested in whether and which customer sequence can be achieved.