Asked by Todd, Massachusetts
I have seen many weight loss DNA testing kits on the Internet. These tests claim to identify the best weight loss program by analyzing your DNA. Is there any merit to this?
Diet and Fitness Expert
Dr. Melina Jampolis
Physician Nutrition Specialist
Hi, Todd. While there is a definite genetic component to obesity, which ranges anywhere from 40 to 70 percent, our current understanding of the interaction between the genetics of obesity, diet and weight loss is limited. There are several hundred genetic regions that have been associated with being obese or overweight, but to my knowledge, none of them has been definitively associated with the potential effectiveness of a specific weight loss program. And while there is considerable interest and research underway exploring the interaction of nutrition and genetics -- an exciting new field known as nutra-genomics -- there are no definitive answers yet.
Interestingly, genes have been identified that are associated with a person's responsiveness to exercise. One genetic variant presented at the Obesity Society meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, last year showed that in some people, exercise actually switches off obesity-causing genes. In addition, several genetic variants are associated with abnormal carbohydrate metabolism, which could steer a person toward a lower-carbohydrate diet to lose or maintain weight. But there are much simpler, less expensive and clinically validated methods to assess carbohydrate metabolism, including testing of cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure, and measurement of waist circumference.
So at this point, I would not recommend undergoing DNA testing. You are much better off looking in the mirror or using a tape measure -- if you tend to carry your weight only around your midsection, you may lose weight more effectively by cutting back somewhat on carbohydrates, especially the highly processed or sugary carbohydrates. If you tend to carry your extra weight more uniformly, cutting back on overall calories is the best approach, and reducing fat intake is the easiest way to cut calories.
And make sure to exercise regularly. Whether or not you have the exercise-sensitive gene, regular exercise will improve your health and help you maintain weight loss.
|Most Viewed||Most Emailed||Top Searches|
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. All comments should be relevant to the topic and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. You are solely responsible for your own comments, the consequences of posting those comments, and the consequences of any reliance by you on the comments of others. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.
The information contained on this page does not and is not intended to convey medical advice. CNN is not responsible for any actions or inaction on your part based on the information that is presented here. Please consult a physician or medical professional for personal medical advice or treatment.