According to a study last week in the journal PLoS One, researchers from the University of Toronto reported that personalized dietary advice based on genetic testing improved eating habits compared to "one-size-fits-all" dietary recommendations. They conducted the first randomized controlled trial to determine the impact of genetic testing on eating habits and found that individuals who received personalized recommendations improved their diet to a greater extent than those who receive standard nutritional recommendations.
Nutrigenomics is a field of research that focuses on understanding why some people respond differently than others to the same foods. Personalized nutrition is an application of nutrigenomics that helps customize dietary recommendations to a person's genetic makeup.
The team studied 138 healthy young adults and collected data on their intake of caffeine, sodium, vitamin C and sugar. The subjects were then divided into two groups – one was given specific genetic dietary advice for a variety of dietary components, and the other group was given current standard dietary advice for the same components but with no genetic information.
Changes in the test subjects’ dietary habits were evaluated after three months and then after one year. The researchers found that subjects who received specific genetic dietary advice started to show improvements in their diets after three months with these changes being even more evident at the one year mark.
This is the first time that the impact of dietary advice based on diet-related genes with specific actionable advice has been tested. José M. Ordovás, the Director of Nutrition and Genomics at Tufts University, feels that personalized dietary information not only increases compliance, but also supports an individual’s long-term health. One of the major problems regarding one-size-fits-all dietary recommendations is compliance. This study supports the theory that genetic-based testing with specific recommendations is more beneficial, can increase compliance, and may help prevent chronic diseases.
Genetic testing identifies unique variations in genes or proteins and has been used to diagnose or rule out hereditary disorders or diseases. Genetic testing is now available to uncover an individual's metabolic requirements, paths to weight loss, ability to increase athletic performance, and can even help to avoid childhood obesity. Approaching diet, exercise, and custom supplementation to achieve weight loss, optimal body composition and wellness is most efficiently accomplished through the utilization of individualized genetic information.
There is genetic testing available that can encode for fat absorption, physiological response(s) to exercise, insulin resistance, obesity, and the regulation of glucose homeostasis and adipocyte differentiation. Also, the great advantage is that, since this is a genetic test, it only needs to be performed once.
Source: Daiva E. Nielsen, Ahmed El-Sohemy. Disclosure of Genetic Information and Change in Dietary Intake: A Randomized Controlled Trial. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (11): e112665 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112665