Do Customized Diet Plans from DNA Testing Kits Work?

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The home DNA-testing kit industry has exploded in popularity in the last five years, with some companies moving into a more niche part of the market. Companies are now offering DNA testing kits that promise to provide you with a customized diet plan based on your genes, ensuring you get the most effective plan to help you lose weight. While this idea sounds reasonable and backed by science, it turns out they may not be as good as we’ve been led to believe. 

A study conducted by researchers at Stanford University found that overweight adults who followed a low-fat or low-carb diet based on certain genetic markers weren’t any more successful than groups that followed the same diet without customizations based on genetics. 

Researchers tracked about 600 overweight adults ages 18 to 50, who were assigned to follow a healthy low-carb or low-fat diet for one year. All participants took a DNA test to decipher if genes that are markers for effective weight loss by eliminating certain foods were present.

Data from the year-long study revealed that an individual’s genetic makeup could not be a reliable marker for determining weight-loss success. Within the two groups, the difference in weight loss varied across the board. One individual lost as much as 60 pounds, while another gained about 20 pounds, displaying a wide disparity in genetic testing’s ability to determine the best diet for weight loss. 

DNA testing kits that are used for determining the perfect diet can cost anywhere from $49$200+. For this price, many people are led to believe that a personalized plan built upon the information provided from their very own DNA must be infallible and absolutely effective. But it turns out, we still do not know enough about the predictive factors of our DNA to create such a thing. 

Despite this, it isn’t fair to say that these kits are completely useless, but the fact they are marketed as being a catch-all plan that will catapult you to achieving your best health is simply misleading. The information you can learn from these tests can be incredibly fascinating and eye-opening to gaining a deeper understanding of your body. 

We are still in the early days of personalized DNA testing for developing diet plans. As we continue to improve upon existing technologies and techniques, they could potentially become one of the most important innovations within the health and wellness industry. Until then, you can’t go wrong with keeping up with regular exercise and clean eating for a healthy lifestyle. 

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