Can understanding your DNA help you lose weight?

You may have heard of DNA testing for ancestry and healthcare, but how can understanding your genetic information help you lose weight and get in shape? The following article will show you how your genes impact your response to your diet and exercise.

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All of us want to achieve our goals fast and efficiently. But, if anyone knows what the struggle with weight loss is like, they’ll know that it’s hard going to stick to a regular plan as results don’t happen overnight.

How your genes affect your weight loss efforts

That's right, your weight loss struggle could be genetic. One way that DNAFit changes this for people is by using DNA testing to help people understand their genes and apply our genetic insights and recommendations to their lives.

The science of nutrigenetics 

Nutrigenetics aims to identify genetic susceptibility to diseases and the way in which very small differences in our genes alter the effects that nutrient intake has on our body. By understanding and analysing these variations, specific dietary advice can be given based on your unique genetic makeup.

Your individual genetic profile controls what you can and can’t digest, your tendency to gain weight, absorb important nutrients and cope with toxins. By knowing your individual predispositions, we might be able to stop uncomfortable symptoms, prevent obesity and fight disease.

Refined Carbohydrates

DNA testing for diet can teach you more about your:

  • Carbohydrate and saturated fat sensitivity
  • Vitamin B, D and omega-3 need
  • Detox ability and antioxidant need
  • Salt, alcohol and caffeine response
  • Lactose intolerance and predisposition to coeliac disease

When we refer to your individual sensitivity, we're referring to your body’s individual reaction to key macronutrient groups (fats, carbohydrates and protein). Depending on your personal genetic profile, you may receive a different amount of energy per calorie from both refined carbohydrates and saturated fat, compared to the average. This is important to understand when preparing your eating plan, so you can manage your intake of these two food groups for the best possible results.

Your saturated fat sensitivity

Fats are extremely calorie dense, easily consumed and often over consumed. 

A single serving will provide around 5g of fats. A single serving is roughly 1 teaspoon (tip of your index finger) of oil, butter, margarine or nut butters, ¼ avocado, 30g (1 oz) nuts and 1 tablespoon (tip of thumb) seeds.

As a general rule, saturated fat should be limited to between 6 to 10% of your total calories, as they are non-essential fats. Animal fats (red meat, skin of poultry, full fat dairy products, eggs, cream, butter ghee and lard), tropical oils (coconut and palm kernel oils), and hidden saturated fats (milk powders, tea and coffee creamers, ice-cream) are all sources of saturated fat, and should be kept to a minimum.

FTO gene: Fat Mass and Obesity-Associated Protein

Research identifies the FTO gene as playing a role in your body’s sensitivity to saturated fat. It indicates that the level of fat intake and physical activity only modify the association with fat mass. In addition, FTO genotype may modify the association between physical activity and cardiovascular mortality. Another study also looked at the FTO gene, and explains that homozygous participants for the FTO-risk allele had a higher mean BMI than the other genotypes only when they had a high-saturated fat intake.   

Finally, the influence of the APOA2 polymorphism on body-weight-related measures was modulated by saturated fat in Mediterranean and Asian populations.


Your carbohydrate sensitivity

Carbohydrates have developed a bit of a bad reputation over the years. In order to help you optimise on your health and fitness goals it is useful to know a bit more about this macronutrient. 

Carbohydrates (carbs) are fibrous, starchy and sugary foods.

They can be further classified as either refined or unrefined. Refined carbs are processed to the point where all their natural fibre has been removed and unrefined carbs are unprocessed and still contain the fibre naturally occurring in them.

TCF7L2: Transcription Factor 7-Like 2

Research indicates that the TCF7L2 gene plays a role due to increased insulin demand, and this is the same for the ACE I/D polymorphism that is associated with whole-body insulin sensitivity and with impaired glucose tolerance in our healthy population. These findings confirm potential interactions between the renin-angiotensin system and glucose metabolism.

Another study has also found that ADRB2 haplotype was independently associated with body fat percentage, abdominal fat distribution, VO2Max, insulin sensitivity, and glucose tolerance.

There are a wide variety of genes associated with carbohydrate sensitivity. We combine your individual genotype and are thus able to tell you where you fall on the sensitivity scale. This will tell you how many refined carbohydrates you can tolerate per day for optimal weight management.

Choosing the best diet for your body

Don't get caught up in the yo-yo dieting cycle. Instead of trying out fad diets and going through a lot of trial and error, our DNA test for diet and fitness can show you how your body responds to certain foods and, as a result, provide you with an optimal diet type. This gives you a sustainable, long-term solution to health and nutrition - helping you reach your weight loss goals and maintain a healthy weight.

Training to your genes

Getting into a regular exercise routine can be difficult, but it isn’t impossible. You need to start slow and keep in mind that everyone had to start somewhere, and that it is never too late. Before you know it, you’ll be training almost every day and it will seem like time has flown by, along with your progress.

DNAFit also incorporate our Peak Performance Algorithm which is our own peer-reviewed study that shows that people on a genetically-matched training plan can see up to three times faster results than people on a genetically-mismatched plan.

Our genetic fitness report looks at the following markers:

  • Power/endurance profile
  • VO2 max trainability
  • Recovery speed
  • Injury risk

Your genes directly affect your response to exercise and nutrition. In this instance, whether you respond better to steady state training or HIIT will depend on your power/endurance profile. 

If you have a high power profile (60% or higher power score), then you’ll see better results from HIIT training. If you have a high endurance profile (60% or higher endurance score) then steady state training will deliver better results.

If you sit somewhere in between (a mixed power/endurance profile) then you’d need to include both HIIT and steady state training to see the best results.


Let's look at two of the main genes that play a role in your response to exercise

ACE is an enzyme which helps regulate your blood pressure and electrolyte balance. When it’s active, ACE causes blood vessel constriction and increases blood pressure.

People with the II/ID ACE genotypes have more slow-twitch muscle fibres which are better suited to endurance based training (low weight, high repetition). People with the DD genotype have more fast-twitch muscle fibres which are better suited to power training (high weight, low repetition).

ACTN 3 is associated with the major structural components of fast twitch fibres of skeletal muscles. It is only present in fast twitch muscle fibres. 

People with the CC genotype of ACTN 3 benefit from power-based training. People with the CT genotype benefit from power training, but less so than someone with the CC genotype. People with the TT genotype benefit from endurance-based training.

Whether you’re an athlete or a regular person just trying to get in shape, genetically matched training can deliver faster results.


Genetics vs. your environment

Understanding your genetics helps you optimise your environment to leverage your body's strengths. By making small adjustments to your eating plan and training regime, according to your DNA, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goals faster and more efficiently.

DNAFit has helped thousands of people from all over the world by helping them to make informed lifestyle choices that work. We hope to continue doing so, until everyone understands how to personalise their fitness and nutrition according to their unique genetic profile - avoiding the pitfalls of a one-size-fits-all approach to our health.

Meet Allison, she's DNAFit

In November 2016, weighing almost 17 stone, Allison knew she needed to take immediate and critical action to improve her health.

With the help of Antony Pink (who is a DNAFit certified personal trainer) and DNAFit, Allison transformed her life. Her results are amazing, she exceeded her goal and reached just under 9 stone, feeling happier and healthier than she has in over 30 years.

On December 21st, 2017 Allison took the life-changing step of being able to hand back her sleep machine to the hospital clinic, her sleep apnea having improved significantly. Other health benefits she has experienced are increased energy, improved skin, mobility, and flexibility.

Download Allison Rushford's case study to find out more about her journey with DNAFit and Antony.

Download Case Study

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