DNA, an abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid, is the hereditary material in humans. In other words, it is their genetics. Every single cell in a human’s body has the same DNA. Pretty neat, huh? So you may be wondering: what does your DNA have to do with losing weight? Good question. A lot more than you may think!
Nutrigenomics is the study of genes and their effect on nutrition. In the past few years, scientists have uncovered a clue that could help people lose weight and keep it off. They believe that the answer lies in a person’s DNA. In other words, the way you metabolize food and burn fat with exercise can all be found in your DNA. By being aware of how your DNA interacts with food and exercise, you can lose the weight you need to lose and keep it off for the rest of your life.
The Problem with “One Size Fits All” Diets
Generally, popular diets such as the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet and other low fat diets or low carb diets assume that everyone’s bodies will react the same way. The assumption is that if someone simply follows the diet, they will lose weight. While much of the time, this is true, sometimes people follow any given diet and simply do not lose weight.
Have you ever tried to lose weight with a friend? Let’s say you both ate generally the same foods and exercised together regularly. However, imagine that your friend lost five pounds after the first week, while you stepped on the scale and it didn’t even budge. This leaves you discouraged and confused. What happened? You followed the diet and exercise regime just like she did.
The simple answer is that different people lose weight at different rates. What works for some may not work for others. Some of it has to do with your lifestyle, but much of it has to do with your DNA.
What is the DNA Diet?
There are various forms of the DNA diet, but they share similar principles.
The DNA diet is geared to give you specific ways to work with your own DNA in order to lose weight. In other words, you will move beyond the obvious ways to lose weight and get more specific methods. Obvious ways include eating more fruits and vegetables, eating less sugary snacks and getting more exercise. Of course, there is not one person who wouldn’t benefit from those healthy practices, right? Right.
The DNA diet is much more detailed. It is formulated just for you. You see, while the majority of what makes up DNA is the same in humans, there are certain parts that are unique to each individual. This is what the DNA diet is built upon. The DNA diet fixes the issue of “the one size fits all” diet and tailors to an individual’s nutritional needs. Let’s look at this in more detail.
Macronutrients: Protein, Fat, Carbohydrates
Protein, fat and carbohydrates are three macronutrients that your body needs. Proteins build and repair your body’s tissues. Carbohydrates are what give your body the energy it needs, while fats also provide energy and store energy. However, these three macronutrients all affect the body differently.
Your DNA will contain the insight on how your body processes protein, carbs and fats. The goal is to find the right combination of the three, which is where the DNA diet comes into play.
How Does the DNA Diet Work?
Various DNA diet companies have designed at home DNA testing kits. Typically, once you sign up for the DNA diet, the company will send you a DNA testing kit. You will find a swab stick for getting a saliva simple. (You will basically just swab the inside of your mouth, store the swab in the tube that the company sent and send it back to them). In addition, you may be asked to fill out a questionnaire compiled of questions about your health lifestyle practices. This will effectively help the company compile your DNA profile.
After you send your swab and questionnaire back to the company, they will then evaluate your DNA in a laboratory. Here, they will determine different factors such as your carbohydrate metabolism and your fats accumulation and metabolism. They will compile your complete genetic profile based on your DNA and the answers to your questionnaire.
After 5-10 weeks, you will receive a report with your own personalized weight loss action plan. This should be very detailed. Typically, the diet will be low carb, low fat, low glycemic or well balanced. You will be given your daily allowance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbs and fats. In addition, you will receive weekly menus to aid you. Many companies even send shopping lists. Some companies will actually send you pre-packaged meals to your house. This would take all the guesswork out of your diet. You would typically receive breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks. Your personalized DNA diet plan will largely depend on which company you use. Some will be more hands on than others and it will all depend on what you need and also the cost.
In addition, you will be sent an exercise programme that will suit you, based on your DNA. Some companies will send you the types of exercises you should do. For example, they may say do 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity five times a week and three days of weight training per week. This would mean that it would be up to you to decide which type of cardio to do and also engage in some type of weight training regimen.
However, other companies will send you more specific exercises. For example, one company sends links to online workout videos, which are designed specifically for you. This way all you will need to do is log online for a certain amount of time each day and do the exercises along with the videos.
While on these DNA diet plans, you should be sure to drink plenty of water. A recommended amount is at least 2 litres a day (8 x 250ml glasses), more when you exercise. In addition, you should limit your caffeine and alcohol intake. Some plans have a “free” day, which means you can eat whatever you want maybe once every two weeks. A good rule of thumb is to save any “treats” you want for these days.
The bottom line for the DNA diet plans is that when you sign up, you will be getting personalized nutrition and exercise plans. However, some are more specific and detailed than others. It all depends on what you want and can afford.
Additional Nutritional and Exercise Assistance
Most companies offer online nutritional and exercise help on their websites. If you have specific questions or are having some type of problem, there are nutritionists you can call or email to consult. In addition, there is a plethora of online support available. You can chat on forums with others who are also participating in the DNA diet which will help keep you accountable and motivated.
How Much Does it Cost?
The DNA diet kits and plans vary, but generally costs run between $250 and $500. However, if you order from a company that also sends your meals, it will be more expensive than this. Some monthly plans are around $600 a month, but do bear in mind that includes all your meals for the month.
The cost will definitely be a factor in this diet, as it can get pretty expensive. You will need to think about the cost factor and determine whether it is something you can afford.
How Much Weight Can You Expect to Lose?
Because this diet is completely individualized, the amount of weight lost will vary from person to person. Generally, most plans claim that the individual will lose a minimum of 1.5 lbs per week. However, some plans claim that the individual will lose around 5 lbs a week.
A healthy weight loss is around 1-2 lbs a week, which is what you should aim for. If you lose too much in too little time you have the risk of gaining it back quickly.
What Have People Said About the DNA Diet?
Here are some testimonials about the DNA diet from different websites:
The information supplied to me from the DNA Diet was awesome. I felt great and had a new outlook on eating. Cruciferous vegetables are my new best friend! I thought I knew a lot about eating and food but you topped me up on my knowledge that was based on ‘me’ and I appreciated that”Karen A (March, 2009 – completed programme in 2007)
I must tell you that I’ve never felt better and I feel like I got my life back!! ….You have made a profound and significant difference in my life. Thank you. I’m so much healthier and I feel fantastic! For the first time in more than 10 years my liver enzymes are within normal ranges!
I have been using the DNA diet kits for almost 2 years now with great success. Using DNA diet as one of the tools for weight management is beneficial both for me and my client. Most of the weight loss clients have been on many diets before. DNA diet results will provide the client with their personal genetic information with regards to weight management and as a practitioner I also find the test very effective in giving me clear guidelines on the treatment protocol with regards to diet and exercise. I have seen great success in this regard…Dr. Martie de Wet
What About After You Lose the Weight?
Many companies will have weight maintenance programmes for after one reaches their weight loss goals. However, once you reach your weight loss goal, you will know how to eat and exercise so that you won’t gain weight back. This is just as important as losing the weight. Many people lose the weight they need to lose, only to gain it back. Sometimes they gain even more back, leaving them larger than they were when they initially lost the weight.
The goal of the DNA diet is to arm you with the knowledge you need to know the foods and portions you need in not only losing weight, but maintaining your weight. In addition, you will know not only what exercises you need to do, but how often you need to do them in order to keep your weight off. In other words, the DNA diet is not only about knowing how to lose weight, but knowing how to keep that weight off.
There is no doubt that the DNA diet has helped many people to lose weight. However, the question is: Is it for you?
The DNA diet is a little more expensive than many other diet programmes, but it could be worth trying. If you are one who has tried many different diets and have not been able to lose the weight you want, you may want to consider trying the DNA diet. There is nothing harmful or unhealthy about it; it is just the fact that you will have to spend some money on it. However, it may just be the diet that will help you lose the weight you need to be healthy.
For those of you who do not have the money to fork out, consider making healthy changes in your diet. Weight management comes down to two things: the food you eat and the exercise you perform. If you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. The DNA diets are typically low carb, low fat or well balanced. Perhaps you could try experimenting with these types and see what works for you.
Whether you sign up to try the DNA diet or try to lose weight on your own, you will be watching your food intake and exercising. If you have the money, and would like the extra support, the DNA diet may be what you need. But if you don’t, try working at it on your own and you may lose the weight without needing to pay for the kit.