According to the CDC, there are around 17% of American adults trying to lose weight on any given day.
Are you one of these people who’ve tried every kind of diet to no avail? Perhaps you’re just made that way.
Well, scientists agree that could be the case. Ongoing research into the relationship between food and DNA has revealed some surprising links between diet and DNA.
Thanks to these studies, there’s hope for everyone who feels they’re lacking the skinny gene. Find out what we know about DNA diet testing and whether it might work for you.
How Does DNA Diet Testing Work?
DNA nutrition science revolves around the assumption that our DNA affects almost every aspect of our life. It makes total sense that your DNA can determine how much body fat you’re inclined to carry.
The trick is figuring out how this works at a molecular level, and how we can use this knowledge to our advantage.
Fat Storage For Survival
Storing fat for later was a good thing back in the day. Way back when mankind had to forage and hunt for daily sustenance, the ability to store fat for lean times was a survival skill.
So, you can blame your weight-loss problems on your super-efficient ancient ancestors.
What Your DNA Says About You
We all know that everyone has a unique DNA sequence, that determines how we look. Forensics experts can even figure out ‘whodunnit’ from DNA testing.
How can this knowledge help us lose weight, though? DNA testing can provide important insights into how your body processes and uses the food you eat.
Science has identified different variants of DNA that can impact how we store fat and burn energy. These variants determine whether you’re best at storing sugar, saturated fat, or anything else.
For example, people with a specific variant of the UCP3 gene don’t store energy from proteins well. Yet they hoard every calorie you get from carbohydrates.
Genetic studies can also provide information on where your body stores this fat and which levels of hormones regulate appetite.
If only you knew what was going on in your body at this microscopic level, right? There’s one way to find out.
What Can a DNA Test Tell Us?
A DNA diet test identifies specific markers that can affect how your body processes nutrients. Although studies are still sketchy at present, nutritionists believe that your DNA can reveal important information on the following:
- Food sensitivities
- How we metabolize nutrients
- Our fat storage capabilities
- How our bodies respond to exercise
- Optimum ratios of vitamins, carbs, and fat
- Nutritional deficiencies
Most studies acknowledge that other factors may affect your body’s relationship with food. However, there’s no chance a DNA Diet test will recommend you change to a diet of candy and soda.
All DNA based nutrition diet plans recommend healthy ingredients that can only assist you on your weight loss journey. So, it’s worth the trial-and-error approach.
Can a DNA Nutrition Test Improve Your Health?
Since a DNA diet focuses heavily on good quality food that should form part of a healthy diet anyway, it can have several benefits for your overall health. Keep reading to find out how working with your genetic makeup can boost your wellbeing.
DNA and Aging
DNA, consisting of strings of chromosomes, affects every single cell in our bodies. So, it directly affects everything about you, including how well your cells age.
Each of these chromosomes has a DNA cap, called a telomere, at the end of it. These tiny elements safeguard your DNA from damage.
As you age, these start to wear out, and this contributes to age-related decline in our cells. The good news is that certain foods can keep these telomeres healthy and strong, so they can do their job for much longer.
These include whole grains, vegetables, seaweed, and legumes, which form the basis of any DNA-based diet. Too much alcohol can cause severe damage to your telomeres.
Nuclear Receptors and Diet
Nuclear receptors are another DNA component that reacts to your diet.
There are many different types of nuclear receptors, and each has a specific job within your cells. Each one monitors its nearby environment and binds to different chemicals and nutrients in the bloodstream according to various circumstances.
For instance, nuclear receptors can bind to individual fat molecules and then bind to your DNA. This prompts the DNA to increase the way the cell handles fat, i.e. lose it or use it.
If your receptors sense a shortage of fat in a particular cell, they can prompt the DNA to recruit fat molecules from neighboring cells.
Some nuclear receptors keep an eye on the number of antioxidants present in the cell. They can activate certain responses in the DNA according to the levels of these antioxidants.
These usually revolve around activating protective measures and anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
What Does Research Say About DNA and Your Diet
Ongoing studies have found correlations between specific types of DNA and the weight loss results people achieve with dieting. This is what they discovered:
Beta-Carotene and DNA
Up to 12 different genetic variations can affect differences in blood beta-carotene levels. The tests involved blood samples from several men and women after eating the same meal.
Fiber and DNA
Fiber is the hero of modern-day diets when it comes to lowering cholesterol, but does it work with your DNA? Studies show that genetic variations in the gene that regulates cholesterol metabolism affected the body’s reaction to fiber both positively and negatively.
In some cases, even people with identical DNA produced different responses, which indicates how minute these variations are.
DNA and BMI
Another study, centered on the important TCF7L2 gene, investigated BMI and diet. It showed that variations in this gene affected how a low-fat diet impacted the BMI of test subjects.
These tests showed that different variations of this gene had a specific impact on how much weight the test subjects lost when participating in different diets.
This only confirms the belief we’ve had all along that different things work for different people. Since DNA is the basis of what makes us all unique, what better place is there to look for solutions than deep within our cells?
What’s Involved in a DNA Diet Test?
The process involved in DNA testing is so simple you can do some of it yourself. You can even order home testing kits you can use in the comfort of your own home.
Step one is swabbing the inside of your cheek to collect a DNA sample. Cheek cells continuously secrete a layer of DNA-rich mucin, which makes these tiny cells ideal for collecting DNA.
Then, let the swabs dry out for about 30 seconds, and mail them back to the lab. If you’re doing this at your nutritionist’s office, they’ll do all this for you.
The lab investigates 45 different genetic markers that can influence weight gain. Based on these results, a nutrition scientist can set up a customized diet and exercise plan to help you meet your weight-loss goals.
What To Expect From Your DNA Diet Plan
Your DNA-based diet should fall into one of six main categories. These are:
A Balanced Diet
Any nutritionist or other healthcare professional will back up the benefits of a balanced diet regardless of your DNA. So, if you’re free of health complications and generally in good health, let common sense guide you.
A balanced diet should contain a range of nutrient-rich food from each major group. These are lean proteins, whole-grain carbohydrates, healthy fats, fresh vegetables, and fruits.
Wean yourself off highly processed, added sugar, trans fats, and refined foods, – they’re not worth it.
If your DNA test reveals a genetic likelihood of elevated blood sugar levels, this diet works best.
Limiting the number of carbohydrates you eat is the best way to control insulin levels naturally. Rather, fill up on whole grains, lean meat, and non-starchy, colorful vegetables.
Low Fat Diet
A DNA test can also reveal whether there’s a likelihood you’ll develop high levels of bad cholesterol.
You can still consume fats on this diet, but you must avoid saturated and trans fats. Replace these with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats from nuts, fish, and avocados.
The Mediterranean diet also works well to control cholesterol. After all, some of the healthiest people on earth grew up on this diet.
This high (healthy) fat, low carb diet helps improve both cholesterol and insulin levels.
If your DNA test suggests a high likelihood of developing lactose intolerance, avoid milk and dairy products.
Lactose sugar occurs naturally in these foods and can cause cramps, bloating, and stomach pain if you’re intolerant. You can try alternatives like flax seed milk or almond milk.
Gluten sensitivity stems from wheat intolerance and causes a range of symptoms like hives, malnutrition, nausea, and an upset stomach.
Your DNA test results can pre-warn you about a propensity for this malady and help your nutritionist come up with a suitable gluten-free plan. Nowadays, there are many delicious substitutes for wheat products.
Healthy Eating Is in Our Genes
Are you ready to make some changes now that you understand DNA diet testing and how it may impact your nutrition choices? One lesson you can’t miss from this is that we’re designed for healthy eating on a cellular level.
So, remember the far-reaching impact that everything you eat can have on your body the next time you’re craving that sugar- and fat-laden candy bar.
Do you want to do the right thing for your health? Bookmark our website and check back soon for more of the latest health and lifestyle tips.