Could your genes be the key to fitting into your jeans?

Nancy Teeter, RDN

Many people struggle to maintain a healthy weight and genetic research may be providing answers as to why the one-size-fits-all model of nutritional guidance doesn’t work. The study of gene-diet interactions forms the emerging science known as nutritional genomics (nutrigenomics). One of the things nutritional genomics aims to understand is why some people respond differently than others to the same foods. Studies have found tremendous variability in how people’s blood glucose levels change after eating a certain food. For example, you eat a slice of bread and your blood glucose skyrockets; however, your dining partner eats the same bread at the same meal and the glucose meter hardly moves. These differences are important, because wild swings in blood glucose levels day after day are associated with chronic diseases like diabetes as well as conditions like metabolic syndrome.

Though scientific understanding of gene expression is still in its infancy, I believe that understanding your genetic profile may empower you to follow a food pattern right for you. Many individual variables exist, but genetic testing is encouraging for people who have struggled with maintaining a healthy weight or following doctor’s orders regarding other behaviors like limiting sodium. When people get DNA-based dietary advice, not only is the advice more accurate, but they are more likely to follow it. You may want to check out services like DNA testing Tuscaloosa AL to see what they can do for you and let you know what your DNA says about who you are and what your body may need. This is why you should check out lifespark nutrition, who offer nutritional advice once receiving your genetic information. They can help with any health problems you may suffer from, or help you lose weight in your weight loss journey.

A study conducted by Stanford University showed individuals on genotype-appropriate diets lost 5.3 percent of body weight compared to individuals on diets not matched to their genotype, who experienced only 2.3 percent weight loss. In a separate study, researchers investigated whether the inclusion of genetic information to personalize a patient’s diet could improve long term weight management. The results found that after 300 days, individuals in the nutrigenetic group were more likely to have maintained some weight loss (73%) than those in the comparison group (32%).

There are numerous companies who offer genetic testing for nutrition. These include Nutrigenomix, Pathway Fit, 23andMe and Simplified Genetics. Reputable companies make it clear that genetic testing for nutrition and fitness are only one part of a complicated health picture. Plus, nutrigenomics cannot predict, prevent or cure disease.

The Nutrigenomix company only offers the testing through trained health professionals like registered dietitians. The personalized reports produced by Nutrigenomix contain six main sections: nutrient metabolism, cardiometabolic health, weight management and body composition, food intolerances, eating habits and fitness and physical activity. Nutrigenomix test reports are designed to help medical professionals make recommendations for a person’s intake of sodium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C and vitamin D. I don’t believe that genetic testing is going to provide answers to very specific health ailments, but the Nutrigenomix report and the consult provided by a trained health professional can get you pointed in the right direction.

I will be at the SaddleBrooke Community Health Fair on Saturday, October 13. If you attend, please stop by and let me know what you learn from the articles I write for our community papers. If you are interested in genetic testing, I can provide more information.

Nancy Teeter, a SaddleBrooke resident, is a registered dietitian nutritionist.