Do your genes affect your weight?

Have you ever heard of Nutrigenomics? It sounds like some kind of futuristic movie concept, but it is real and defined as the study of the interaction between nutrition and genes, writes Rochez O’Grady.

Why do people experience different health outcomes even though they eat pretty much the same diets and practice similar lifestyles? This is an important question that has long plagued nutrition and other healthcare experts. It’s thought that genetics affect how a person responds to dietary intake. Only recently, research in the field of nutrigenetics has shown this. And it is especially relevant to the prevention and treatment of disease.

Did you know most people are approximately 99% genetically identical? This 1% genetic variation leads to differences of health outcomes, depending on dietary intake and other environmental factors.

A common example is when you compare two men of the same age both have a diet low in fruits and vegetables and high in salt and unhealthy fats. One develops high blood pressure and high cholesterol which leads to heart problems, while the other lives a long, disease free life.

An individual’s genetic sequence affects his or her nutrient requirements, energy utilisation, appetite and taste, as well as risk of chronic disease in response to diet. Chronic illnesses, like heart disease, diabetes and cancer, are bordering on an epidemic currently, with the numbers skyrocketing over the last 100 years. This increase has been linked to lifestyle and environmental factors though as our genes haven’t changed much over that time.

Our genes don’t necessarily control our destiny when it comes to health, but what has been a topic for research is looking in diet and lifestyle’s ability to change our genetic outcome. These have been shown to be a powerful preventative tool to avoid disease development. Rather than focusing on treatment, people can improve their quality of life and longevity by following a healthy diet.

From personal experience with clients, it is clear that everyone reacts differently to healthy dietary changes. I am excited to have done an intensive course with DNAlysis, which makes me a certified practitioner who will be able to send client’s DNA to be tested. What an exciting step forward in giving us in the nutrition field a sure way of making recommendations that are even more individualised. It is as simple as brushing the inside of your cheeks with an earbud and sending it off to the lab. Results usually take between 2-3 weeks, with an extensive report.

There are different sets of genes that can be tested. It is important to take note that we are not helpless in affecting the outcome of these genes that are tested. You will be able to make a change to the outcome of how they are expressed. You can do this through specific lifestyle and environmental changes.

DNAlysis offers four sets of tests:

DNA diet, DNA health, DNA sport and DNA oestrogen.

Here is some insight around the DNA diet test:

It can be determined what genetic mutations are influencing your efforts to lose weight. The results of the test tells us exactly what type of diet will be the most suitable for weight loss and explains exactly why you might have struggled in the past to lose weight and keep it off. Your unique DNA plays a vital role in determining whether you will do best on one of the following three diets: Low Carbohydrate, Low Fat or Mediterranean.

According to the DNA test results, we then work out a diet plan that will work the best for your body. DNA diet also provides you with recommendations for type, intensity, and duration of exercise sessions that will help mobilise your fat stores the best.

What exactly does the DNA diet test for? This test looks at 4 diet and lifestyle factors:

  • Exercise sensitivity
  • Risk of obesity
  • Carbohydrate sensitivity
  • Saturated fat sensitivity

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References:

For further reading you can visit www.dnalysis.co.za or scan the QR code to read an article on Today’s Dietician (todaysdietician.com).

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