Genetic testing seeks to personalise diet and lifestyle recommendations based on the idea that each person responds to foods differently because of their unique genetic make-up. Supplied image.
Genetic testing seeks to personalise diet and lifestyle recommendations based on the idea that each person responds to foods differently because of their unique genetic make-up. Supplied image.

Fit into your jeans this festive season by knowing your genes and following a ‘DNA diet’

By Karishma Dipa Time of article published Nov 20, 2021

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Johannesburg - There might be billions of people on every corner of the globe but each individual has a different genetic make-up which dictates their weight loss ability.

This could be one of the major reasons why trendy weight-loss plans that promise dramatic results have largely proved to be ineffective in the pursuit of slimming down, believes DNAlysis CEO Danny Meyersfeld.

“There is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to weight loss and a ‘fad’ diet is one that becomes popular for a short period of time, and often makes unrealistic claims around weight loss without adequate scientific evidence,” he said.

“While these diets may be effective for some people, there are frequently severe dietary restrictions involved that make it difficult to sustain the eating behaviour that is required.”

In order to promote and support long-term and sustainable weight loss and health, Meyersfeld and his team have been using genetic testing which seeks to personalise diet and lifestyle recommendations based on the idea that each person responds to foods differently because of their unique genetic make-up.

“This is why we have individual nutritional needs,” Meyersfield explained.

“Genetic testing can also assist in understanding many eating behaviours associated with weight management such as the propensity for snacking behaviour, having a sweet tooth; as well as feelings of satiety, which are all linked to our DNA.”

DNAlysis CEO Danny Meyersfeld. Supplied image.

This approach to weight loss and health is rapidly increasing in popularity in South Africa and Meyersfield reckons that its personalised approach to each individual’s success is one of the major reasons for its achievements.

“DNA or genetic testing finds the diet type that is most suitable for you, based on your own unique, genetic make-up and then trained practitioners can craft a bespoke diet plan that will give you the best chance of ensuring healthy, sustainable weight loss,” he said.

“There has been an explosion of interest and awareness of these types of tests over the past few years as individuals are becoming a lot more aware of the power of these tests to affect health outcomes.

“They are also becoming a lot more conscious of their ability to be proactive about their health, and are taking more responsibility for their own health outcomes; as such the popularity of these tests has grown substantially.”

The process of genetic or DNA testing for the purposes of weight loss is guided by science as healthcare practitioners are at the heart of this practice.

“We have an extensive network of doctors and dietitians around the country who offer a range of tests in their practices,” Meyersfeld said.

Genetic testing seeks to personalise diet and lifestyle recommendations based on the idea that each person responds to foods differently because of their unique genetic make-up. Supplied image.

He explained that these tests can be purchased on DNAlysis’s website, while a medical practitioner handles the consultation.

Upon making the purchase, the at-home collection kit, which contains all the instructions needed for collecting the sample and returning it to its laboratory, is then sent via courier.

Reports are then made available and sent to a healthcare practitioner, who, within two weeks, interprets and relays the results back.

The cost of the tests start at R2 350 for a single report with each requested additional report costing R600 each.

“Some great success stories shared with us over the years include a lady who suffered from uncomfortable gut health issues, and the DNA Health test gave insight into her being lactose intolerant and having a predisposition to inflammation,” Meyersfeld said.

“Through actively following a lactose free, anti-inflammatory diet, her gut health and energy levels improved significantly.”

He added how the genetic health test highlighted another individual’s predisposition to cholesterol, eczema and other body and skin conditions that were eradicated with the correct diet and lifestyle.

“The power of genetic testing lies in the early identification of modifiable risk factors, empowering the individual to take the necessary lifestyle measures that ultimately can reduce their disease risk.” Meyersfeld said.

He believes that the vast majority of chronic diseases are preventable through a combination of nutritional and lifestyle interventions and choices and that these genetic tests assist individuals in prioritising which particular lifestyle decisions are most important for them, based on their own genetic risk factors.

“The tests are a powerful tool, both as an aid to guide the decision-making process of a healthcare practitioner, and also to motivate behaviour change in the patient.

“It's about having insights into what foods, supplements and lifestyle choices will work for you so that you can manage weight more effectively and reduce your risk of non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, strokes and cancer,” Meyersfield said.

Genetic testing seeks to personalise diet and lifestyle recommendations based on the idea that each person responds to foods differently because of their unique genetic make-up. Supplied image.

For those looking to slim down or to continue their weight loss journey successfully this festive season, Meyersfeld suggests:

- Remembering that there is more to the festive season than food.

- Enjoy the outdoors and being active with loved ones.

- Taking time to destress and focus on improving sleep

- Bringing healthy snacks to festive season gatherings.

- Allowing yourself to occasionally indulge in your favourite meals as healthy living is about balance and consistency

The Saturday Star

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