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Do DNA-based weight loss diets work?

Tuesday February 16, 2021
Do DNA-based weight loss diets work?

Yes, according to some recent research. DNA-based weight loss diets work, but here's the kicker: you've got to be in it for the long haul. The more research I see in the field of genetic-based diets, the more confident I am that this is the case. We all know by now that sustained weight loss has to be a lifestyle change. So yes, it makes sense that it's a longer-term thing. But be honest...is "long haul" secretly making you cringe? Maybe a little? If so, keep this in mind: even though it may take a bit longer (up 2 years...ouch) to fully reap the DNA diet-based weight loss benefits, it's still faster than the trial-and-error alternative. Why? Because let's face it: trial-and-error eats up decades (which you probably already know...first hand).

So, let's get back to the research. In this particular study, participants were assigned to either a standard keto diet with standard exercise recommendations or to a "nutrigenetic" diet with personalized exercise recommendations. In the latter group, numerous gene variations were looked at in each individual to predict their sensitivity to carbohydrate and saturated fat intake, and diets were prescribed based on the results of the analyses. Exercise recommendations were also based on the genetic results.

What happened? At 6 months, both groups lost weight (this is expected), but those assigned to the standard keto group actually lost more weight!!! However, the study montiored the participants for an additional year thereafter. The authors observed that at the end of that additional year (1.5 years after the start of the study), the keto group participants had regained some of their weight from the initial weight loss while the nutrigenetics group (the ones where were given a DNA-based diet) were still losing weight. How much weight? The nutrigenetics group lost an average of almost 28 kg (~62 lbs) from the start of the study, while the keto group lost an average of just over 19 kg (~43 lbs). That's nearly a 20 lb difference! In addition, the nutrigenetics diet group had better metabolic health (e.g. lower cholesterol levels, lower fasting blood sugar levels, etc.) than the keto group, although these benefits are probably due to the weight loss itself.

This is not the first study to show that on the shorter term, a DNA-based diet may not seem like much of anything. It may be even overhyped. It's when you make yourself comfortable and wait a bit that you start to see the difference. In fact, several of the studies on which DietCypher is based, in part, also show that it takes anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to start seeing the benefit of weight loss diets aligned with a genetic profile versus standard weight loss diets. As with the study described above, participants lose weight (and right away), regardless of the weight loss diet they are on. It's just that after a while, people start to lose more weight (and/or not regain as much weight) when they follow a diet more in tune with their genetic variations.

So, what is my take away from this? DNA-based weight loss diets work. Yes, you will likely lose weight regardless of what type of weight loss diet you chose to pursue. However, following a diet that is better aligned with you personal genetic variations should help you lose more weight and get you to your ultimate goal faster in the long-run. If your interested in learning more about DNA-based weight loss diets, check out another study here.


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