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Genetic Test Determines Best Diet Type

Would You Pay For a Genetic Test If It Helped You Lose Weight?

A closer look at your genes may determine what type of diet is best for you — at least that's what Interleukin Genetics is hoping. The company has developed a genetic test that tells researchers if an individual will lose more weight on a lowfat or low-carb diet.

Researchers randomly assigned one of four diets — Atkins, Ornish, LEARN, or Zone  —  to a group of 140 overweight and obese American women. After a year's time they then compared the genetic makeup of the women to their assigned diets to see if those on diets that were better matched to their genetics lost more weight. The study showed that participants who were on better matched diets lost about five times more weight than those on diets that were not as good a genetic match. Researchers say the $149 test works by looking for mutations in three genes. The mutations affect the amount of fat the body absorbs or how the body metabolizes sugar. Sixteen percent of individuals will have a combination of both mutations.

I'm not quite sure if I'm buying it though, at least not yet. The study group seems really small, and overall, neither group lost that much weight. It makes me think that the diets may not have been closely monitored, or that diets simply don't work. Since the company is planning to broaden its study, I'll be keeping my eyes open for any new developments.

In the meantime . . .

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Athena123987 Athena123987 7 years
Actually, even though I don't like the diets they used in the study, the idea might have some merit. I'm an undergrad researcher in a lab that researches the genetics of complex human diseases, so things that are also tied to obesity are things we look at. People who are naturally skinny have a hard time accepting it, but people can have a genetic predisposition to things like obesity as well as conditions like heart disease and type II diabetes. Notice I am not saying that being obese is healthy, but everyone's body processes food differently and some peoples' bodies "hold on" to calories harder, adjusting their metabolisms to avoid weight loss. It is just harder for these people to lose weight; it takes more exercise for them to overcome their metabolisms. It might be easier to know that you have to work harder than your gym buddy to lose the weight, and that it isn't just in your head. It might also be useful to know if you are one of the people who can't restrict calories below a certain threshold before your body's metabolism switches to "starvation mode" and clings to every calorie. No one is saying people should give up and be morbidly obese, but it is just as disingenuous as that to say "calories in
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 7 years
I would do it, but not to go on a diet. I'd use it to change my daily eating habits slightly (unless it told me to give up cheese or something preposterous like that! hehe.) I would like to know for example if I'm needlessly depriving myself of anything, or if I could easily lose more weight by eating just a little bit less of one food group.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
Fewer calories in + more calories out = weight loss. That'll be $149, please.
socalbeachgal socalbeachgal 7 years
Just another product based on hype and the fact that people want a quick fix to weight loss. Just eat less (but a balanced diet) than the calories burned and the weight will come off.
mtiger mtiger 7 years
Just eat right and exercise! That's all you need to do!!
Spectra Spectra 7 years
Even though people might have slight genetic variations in their DNA, everyone will lose weight if they eat either a low carb or a low fat diet. It's just a matter of where you get your calories. Humans were designed to eat whole, non-processed foods. As long as you stick with those types of things, you'll lose weight.
bethinabox bethinabox 7 years
Gee I'm glad they're still promoting these ridiculous diets.. *eyeroll* Can't they just teach people how to eat healthy food and exercise?!
becky0125 becky0125 7 years
this is a prime example of how people want some magic diet and want to work around the basic concept of more calories burned than ate. if you do that, you'll lose weight. a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. our bodies use different calories differently, but they all burn up just the same.
ella1978 ella1978 7 years
I think that if it told you what foods made you the best you that you could be, and not necessarily "what diet to be on" than yes. I know that there was a big fad about eating for your blood-type.. not sure what happened for that. I'm a vegetarian with type O+ and Im pretty sure my blood type said to eat a lot of meat.. HA. It's probably something similar.
inlove23 inlove23 7 years
If I needed to lose a lot of weight (50+) I might consider it, but I'm only planning to lose 15 at most. I do have a different philosophy on eating though, I feel that diets are temporary which means weight loss is temporary. A person cannot expect to be on jenny craig or south beach diet for the rest of their life because that would not be fair or easy to stick to. They are best used as building blocks weight watcher meals show the correct amount of portions which helps dieters really listen to their body instead of having incorrect meal portions of fattening food. I try to eat healthy without missing out on what I want the most.
sourcherries sourcherries 7 years
I think this sounds like a good plan (if you could afford). Each individual has different dietary needs and this allows for personalization.
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