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Diet Report: FAQ

Posted 171 Days Ago in: Genetics, Nutrition

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We asked our Head of Sport Science, Craig Pickering to give us a run through all the frequently asked questions about our diet report. So if you want to find out more about nutrition information you can get from a DNAFit report, read on.

 

I’ve come back as having a higher than average risk of having coeliac disease. This means I should avoid gluten, right?

 

Not necessarily. Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition that affects the small intestine. If people with coeliac disease consume gluten, then they get a nasty reaction in their microvilli – small, finger like structures in their small intestines – that can cause them to atrophy. This is bad news, because it makes it harder for that person to absorb vitamins and minerals. We know that there is a genetic link to coeliac disease, with about 99% of people with coeliac disease having at least one of the HLA DQ2 or HLA DQ8 variants. So having one of these variants increases your risk of developing coeliac disease, but it’s also important to keep in mind that the vast majority of people with these variants will not have or develop coeliac disease. As such, if you do have those variants, we would recommend that you monitor for symptoms of coeliac disease, such as rapid weight loss and lethargy, and, if these symptoms occur, it would be worthwhile having further tests done.

 

Another thing I’ve noticed is that our test says I’m not lactose intolerant, but I know I am. Your test must be a load of rubbish then?

 

Not at all! With the lactose intolerance portion of our test, we’re looking at a gene called LCT, which determines whether you can produce lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose, into adulthood. Approximately 65% of the world’s population lose the ability to produce this enzyme after weaning, although this number is lower in the UK and the US – closer to 10%. If you have at least one T allele for this gene, you have the genetic ability to produce lactose, which means we would class you as lactose tolerant. However, it is possible that you have secondary lactose intolerance, which can be due to a number of other things, including IBS. You might also be intolerant or sensitive to some of the protein found in milk, most commonly casein.

 

I’ve been classed as a fast metaboliser of alcohol – does this mean that alcohol is bad for me?

 

No, it doesn’t. In the alcohol sensitivity section of our report, we’re looking at how quickly you can metabolise alcohol. We split people into two different groups; slow metabolisers and fast metabolisers. Fast metabolisers break down alcohol quicker, so it’s present in their blood for a shorter period of time, whilst in slow metabolisers it’s present for longer. Research suggests that slow metabolisers who consume moderate amounts of alcohol get a cardiovascular protective effect from this alcohol – the type of people for whom a glass or red wine a day might be good for. This effect isn’t present, or at least is reduced, in people who are fast metabolisers of alcohol. So it doesn’t mean alcohol is bad for you, just that it’s perhaps not as good as it is for slow metabolisers.

 

I’ve got a raised requirement for antioxidants. Does this mean I should take a supplement?

 

Please don’t! There is plenty of evidence suggesting that, far from being good for you, antioxidant supplements might actually increase your risks of certain types of cancers. It’s far better to get your nutrients for food where possible, which in the case of antioxidants is fruits and vegetables.

 

You also recommend that I have 3g of omega-3 per day. Where can I get this from?

 

Your best bet is oily fish; 150g of salmon has around 3g of omega-3 in it. However, many people don’t like oily fish, or at least don’t like it enough to want to have it every day. In this case, it might be sensible to have an omega-3 supplement to hit your targets.

 

Why don’t you tell me how many calories I need?

 

When it comes to how many calories you require, this is largely determined by your lifestyle, more so than your DNA. For example, identical twins have the same genes, but if one is running a marathon and the other is sat at a desk all day, their caloric needs are very different. Similarly, if one wanted to increase their muscle mass, whilst the other was looking to lose fat, they would need different caloric intakes. As we are a genetic testing company, we can only really give you advice on aspects altered by your DNA, of which caloric needs aren’t.

 

What does it mean if I have a high sensitivity to carbohydrates?

 

When we’re looking at your sensitivity to carbohydrates, what we’re saying is that the more sensitive you are to carbohydrates, the more likely you are to develop type-II diabetes or gain excess fat with a high level of simple carbohydrates in your diet. In essence, the higher your sensitivity to carbohydrates, the more you want to focus on fruits and vegetables as the main source of carbohydrate in your diet.

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