DNA Diet Uses Body's Genetic Code to Aid Weight Loss

Dna Diet

The Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 13/01/12 17:49 Updated: 13/01/12 17:49

A personalised 'DNA' diet that uses genetic fingerprints to determine the right food and exercise regime for your body type, goes on widespread sale today.

In trials of 7,700 people the Nordiska diet produced an average weight loss of 11lb over four months.

Nine out of ten participants lost weight and some lost up to 26lb in four months.

However, experts caution that any diet that involves reducing calorie intake and increasing exercise will inevitably lead to weight loss.

"It’s not rocket science," leading nutritionist Juliette Kellow told the Mirror.

"The idea that a genetic fingerprint can unlock the secret to how an individual loses weight is an interesting concept but if you eat less and move more, you will lose weight."

The Nordiska diet, developed by Newcastle firm myGenomics is being sold online at £99 for the swab test alone, and £159 for a 'package' including three months of follow-up advice from dietitians.

In order to begin the weight loss plan, dieters must first complete a questionnaire and send a DNA swab of their saliva for laboratory analysis.

The swabs are examined for gene variants relating to how quickly an individual metabolises fat and carbohydrate, appetite control and muscle activity.

The dieter is then assigned to one of four types of diet - low in fat, low in carbohydrate, low glycaemic or healthy balanced - and receives a 30-page personalised report.

The eating plan is combined with one of types of exercise: endurance or high-intensity.

The diet’s creator, cell biologist Dr Carolyn Horrocks, teamed up with Danish GP Carl Brandt on the diet concept after she came up with the idea while researching the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes.

She said: "Each of us has a unique genetic fingerprint which shows why some types of diet work for people and not for others.

"I realised genetic variants were being analysed for very technical purposes but they could be used by people in their everyday life to control their weight and help prevent the sort of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease that I was working on.

"If something is right for your body, it will be easier to stick to, less arduous and we have shown you have a greater chance of keeping the weight off.”

She added: "It’s not a fad diet, all our dietitians and trainers are registered and have a science background.”

She said the approach is intended to produce “slow and steady” weight loss, and is not related to the blood group diet which has been criticised by experts.

She added: "It’s not a fad diet, all our dietitians and trainers are registered and have a science background."

The trial was carried out by Newcastle University and colleagues in Copenhagen on men and women with an average age of 40 who had a BMI of 30 to 35.

Ursula Arens, of the British Dietetic Association, said she was "open-minded" about the diet, it was reported in the Daily Mail, but added: "Genes do play a role in being overweight but there are hundreds of genes involved and I’m not sure it’s as simple as this.

“In reality I think it’s minor compared to lifestyle and the need to just eat fewer calories and burn more.”

If you'd prefer an easier route to shedding the pounds than forking out £159, having your saliva analysed and wading your way through a 30-page guide, here are a few simple ways to curb your junk food cravings and reduce your calorie intake...

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  • How To Beat Your Inner Glutton

    Doreen Virtue, author of <em><a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Constant-Craving-What-Cravings-Overcome/dp/1848505906" target="_hplink">Constant Craving</a></em> offers her advice on how to resist your salt, sugar and fat cravings and stay on the right track with your diet.

  • Stave Off Chocolate Pangs With...

    "Ginger ale and soy milk are high in tyramine, which can help relieve chocolate cravings. Pekoe tea is high in chocolate's other stimulating ingredient. theobromine."

  • Eat A Satifying Sugar-Alternative

    "One reason we shun fruit during our sweet cravings is that fruit seems like a deprivation alternative. We've got to dress fruit up! Put a little flavoured, fat-free yoghurt on top. Puree the fruit with an ice cube and some ginger ale. Microwave sliced apple for two minutes at high temperature with a little bit of cinnamon and you've got a quick, low calorie apple-pie type treat."

  • Understand The Reasons Behind Your Cravings

    "If, after analysing your cravings, you discover any anger, frustration or stress, ask yourself how you might take even one step toward alleviating the source of these emotions. Is there someone you can talk to, or some changes that you can make in your life? If you reduce the source of your uncomfortable emotions, you won't need to crave sweet things anymore."

  • Beware Of 'All Or Nothing' Thinking

    If we tell our bodies that this chocolate bar or hamburger will be our last treat ever, we're more likely to binge. "It's like we're seeing a beloved person for the last time, so of course we want to spend as much time as possible with that object of affection." The key is eat all treats in moderation and if the craving get too much, seek healthier alternatives.

  • Fight Off Salty Cravings

    "Crunch on crisp vegetables dipped in low calorie, fat-free salad dressing. Instead of potato chips and french fries, go for carrot and celery sticks. Broccoli and cauliflower florets are also tasty replacements. They may not seem as appealing as the fatty versions, but the crunch and flavour will soothe your craving."

  • Treat Yourself With Non-Food Rewards

    "Sweet treats usually equal reward. We all need pats on the back and kudos for hard work. But instead of stopping at the cookie shop or take-out, why not treat yourself to a new book, item of clothing or shoes? This will feel just as satisfying and is much healthier than a fat-laden treat."