There’s lots of interesting science going in the weight loss world right now – today I read about a new study reporting that dieting to your gene type does show better results than just following a simple calorie controlled plan. According to researchers at the University of Trieste people following a DNA specific routine lost a third more weight and gained more muscle than those just eating 600 fewer calories a day.
The theory of DNA dieting is simple. 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 which variation you have.
DNA diets see 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 a number of different genes (exactly how many depends on which test you pick – there’s a few available) 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 when I tried one a while back? Here’s a paragraph from my review!
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!
But what was interesting about the Trieste trial was that they didn’t just base the diets around metabolic genes like the ones above, they also tested genes that code for taste preference – for example, did you know there’s a gene that determines if you like white wine (I’ve got two copies of that one, in fact, they should test me, I think I’ve got three or four), they’ve also found genes that determine if you like chocolate, artichokes, bacon, ice cream and butter on bread – and they tailored the diet advice to these as well as to how well they processed things like fat, carbs and protein.
This could have created a very important double whammy. The number one reason that people quit diets is that they get bored with the food – tailoring a diet to foods you love is immediately going to help. On top of that, when I tried my own gene based plan I found I was more motivated than normal to stick with it. There’s something about having a diet that you think is tailored specifically to you that means you have more faith in it and therefore more likely to follow its rules – and that is most definitely more likely to lead to success. It’s like you’re thinking ‘well it must work, someone in a lab coat prescribed it for me. Considering the Italian trial was over two years this extra motivation boost could definitely have played a role.
In fact, if my experience was anything to go by I wonder if this is actually more relevant than the type of foods. Yes I lost weight on my DNA plan – about 5lb in a month but I lost MORE weight when I did the Educogym diet (and kept it off longer) which, in theory, counteracted everything my genes said I should eat. The gene diets I tried both put me on a low fat, high protein, moderate carb diet – Educogym is high fat, moderate protein, no carb. Seems we still have stuff to learn (or at least my body does).
If you want to see my past posts on the DNA Diets, check these out – note though some of them have changed their diet plans since I wrote these though so some of my more negative comments about the advice is a bit out of date.
The Nordiska Diet – what do you eat– NB: Nordiska is now known as DNAFit