Everything you need to know about eating according to your DNA
DNA diets are a big trend at the moment, and the question in mind is should the fast-evolving field of nutrigenomics change the way you eat?
We spoke to Dr. Christa North, who is the Operations Manager and a genetics specialist at Geneway, about everything you need to know about eating according to your DNA.
North said that if science and genetics have taught us anything, it’s that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diet recommendation, that everyone’s body has unique needs.
“Knowing your DNA can help you and your healthcare practitioner decide if you are a good candidate, for example, a keto (high-fat) diet or should rather follow a low-fat diet. It helps to explain why some people thrive on certain diets while others don’t, and why do certain individuals respond differently to physical activity interventions,” she said.
“The concept that diet influences health is an ancient one. Nutrigenomics includes known interactions between food and inherited genes, called ‘inborn errors of metabolism,’ that have long been treated by manipulating the diet. One such example is lactose intolerance, meaning that people with variations in their DNA cannot digest milk products, because the gene encoding lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, is ‘turned off’,” said North.
Asked about the advantages, she said in a nutshell, taking a gene-diet test, takes the guesswork out – for both practitioners and patients.
“By learning your personalized genetic nutrition profile, including the ratio of carbs, proteins, and fats for your body as well as how the body utilizes vitamins and minerals, you can make informed, science-based decisions regarding your diet based on your DNA. People who get DNA-based dietary advice are more likely to follow recommendations.
"The list of foods that one can eat liberally should eat in moderation and those that one should avoid, in the test report is extensive, making it an easy guideline to follow. This is personalised according to the person’s DNA results,” said North.
“Firstly choose a reputable company to do your DNA test such as Geneway, which will give you science-based results. It is a simple DNA swab to collect some cheek cells in your mouth and about two weeks later, you will get your results.
"There are two different sets of evidence in the “science world”, one for genes related to obesity risk and another for genes that help establish links between dietary factors and body weight,” she added.