Remember a long long time ago, before I discovered Educogym, I went on the DNA diet and lost some weight, sadly, Nordiska, the company who offered that plan have shuffled off to the great graveyard of companies who were ahead of their time – hot on their heels though come a group offering something called the My-Gene-Diet, that offers a similar test (although checking a slightly different set of genes).
The theory of DNA dieting is that our success in losing weight is determined by the activity of certain genes. Each of us inherits a particular form – or variation – of each gene from our parents, and how easily, or otherwise, you lose weight depends on which variation you have.
The My-Gene-Diet sees you swabbing your cheek with a giant cotton bud and sending said bud off to a lab. There people in white coats will test the sample for eight different genes that control things like how fat reacts in your body, your hunger/satiety levels and whether you should do intense exercise or endurance. It reveals which variations you have inherited – and what that means in terms of weight loss – and sends you a handy report telling you which variations you possess.
What did my results say?
As the Nordiska diet also found, let’s just say that when it came to handing out genetic gifts my parents sucked! I had a father who was tall and beanpole, and have a mother who is short and always on a diet. One of these two has given me a copy of virtually every crappy gene out there…….
Listen to these quotes from my report…
“Weight loss by dieting is known to be difficult with this variation”
” Moderate propensity for increased BMI. Early onset for overweight”
*With this variation there is an increased tendency to be overweight, to have increased hunger and a lower feeling of satiety”. Oh excellent – the trifecta of fatness!
At this point, a lesser person might throw up their hands, turn away from the lettuce and resign themselves to life in a kaftan, but I’m thinking ‘ah well at least I didn’t get two copies. There is hope’ – and thankfully, the report continues with advice that helps you beat your genes.
According to the results, I should eat a diet low in carbs and slightly higher in protein and fat. Specifically, to lose weight I’m supposed to eat 1600 calories a day – made from 160g of carbohydrate a day, 100g of protein and 62gm of fat. So far so helpful – but then it all goes to crap
The actual information on what you should be eating to achieve that is rubbish. They do give you three suggested day plans and a few suggestions as to what 50g of carbohydrate or 20g of fat looks like, but honestly, the information is pretty useless. For starters the carbs are done in cup portions – no-one in England knows what a cup is – but the worst section is fat. You have to try and calculate your fat allowance in regard to how it appears in other foods – so 20g of fat is the amount in three small pork sausages, but as they don’t tell me how much protein is in the pork sausages, that’s a useless fact that I can’t use.
While it would be possible to slightly adapt the day plans they give you (by swapping like for like – ie using pork where they say beef, rice where they say noodles) after that I really could not devise an individual eating plan that suited my taste for more than about two days using the information they provided that I was sure would meet the nutrient ratios they suggested.
At this point, I lost the will to live. And, if I’d paid the £159 that the test costs I’d think I’d wasted my money (yes, they offered me the chance to test it – they might be regretting it a tiny bit now).
It’s a shame. The science in this test is very legitimate. It was created by a doctor and a biochemist. Yet, when it comes to putting the information into practice, it’s like they’ve taken a basic dieting book, pulled out a few facts and decided that’ll work. I’m sorry, but if someone is interested enough to pay a three-figure sum and to find out their genetic variants they’ve probably already done the dieting basics and therefore might already know that ‘ pizza, pastry and treats like ice cream or fried foods’ are high in fat. And that if you want to snack it’s a good idea to do it with fruit and raw vegetables.
The exercise advice is as bad – they’ve given me a simple interval programme and then a living room bootcamp. Again, if I’m spending that much money on my test, I’m probably not going to be doing tricep dips on a chair in my lounge. Or maybe I have the target market of the test all wrong.
Finally, they plug a couple of brand name diet aids which I also didn’t like.
So, what’s my verdict?
It’s a tricky one – the test itself I have no problem with. I love the insight that a genetic test has into your body. I think having that information and then being able to apply it is an incredibly powerful tool for weight loss. After all, studies have shown that people who diet to their DNA type do lose more weight than those just following a generic diet (even of the same calories).
My own personal experience with DNA dieting was also positive. Because I thought the diet was tailored to me I had more faith in it working – which made me more likely to stick to it. But the diet information attached to this test just doesn’t allow you to apply it well enough to take advantage of that knowledge – in fact, the only person who could follow it precisely is someone armed with a book of nutrition tables or who loved the three meal plans they suggest enough to eat/vary the structured diet day in, day out.
Having tried the Nordiska diet, I know you can give someone a diet plan ‘tailored to their genes’ that is easy to follow for weeks on end, it’s just such a shame that this group didn’t follow the same model. If you aren’t as nasty and cynical as me though, or think you can cope with the structured diet plan (I admit the three days they gave me did sound tasty), you’ll find the website here…www,my-gene-diet.com
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