Personalised Nutrition Based On Your DNA – Summary

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Here at food.com.au we are focused on bridging the intention-behaviour gap. One of the ways we will do that is by promoting personalised nutrition advice. Other ways we will bridge the gap are through embracing the latest scientifically backed technology, delivering highly educational, actionable content and tools, and promoting action through our internal and partner products and services. Our finding is that nutrigenomics ticks a lot of boxes, and is a great place to start helping our members on their personal nutrition journey.

Nutrigenomics is the complex study of how food and genes interact.

Like height, hair colour and shoe size, our genetics can also determine how we process certain vitamins, how we metabolise fat, protein and carbohydrates and even if we prefer sweet over salty foods.

All of this impacts our mental and physical responses to food and ultimately our food choices. And of course, what we eat is a major contributor to body weight, health status and risk of disease.

Can nutrigenomics help you achieve your health and nutrition goals?

This article will explore what nutrigenomics is and the role it can play in personalising your nutrition approach.

How Does Nutrigenomics Work?

Within your DNA there are thousands of genes, variations in these genes are responsible for making you the individual you are.

Your genes contain a set of instructions to make a specific protein.

This protein can be structural, for example making up part of your liver. Or functional, making the various chemicals and hormones that regulates everything from blood pressure to feelings of hunger.

A SNP (pronounced snip,) which stands for single nucleotide polymorphism, is a change or variation within these genetic codes.

A variation in a gene can have numerous effects on how your body functions. It may mean you produce too much of the hunger hormone ghrelin or not enough insulin. SNPs can also have no effect at all.

DNA testing kits, such as the Wellness and Nutrition kit from myDNA, are designed to test for these SNPs. Nutrigenomic DNA tests can pinpoint specific SNPs in your genome (your genetic make-up) and give you information about how your body processes nutrients and your risk of disease.

However, if you have a SNP that puts you at higher risk of a certain health outcome, this isn’t set in stone. You have the ability to alter the outcome with diet and lifestyle.

For example, somebody who has a SNP in the FTO gene, otherwise known as the ‘fat gene’, it’s likely they may have an increased appetite and an increased desire to eat high-fat, high-energy foods. However, with regular exercise and a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy body weight is entirely possible. With this information more specific food choices can also be applied, like focusing on a higher protein diet to increase feelings of fullness.

The same can apply to other gene variations such as those that increase the risk of high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes.

This is where personalised diets have such huge potential to play a role in health and wellbeing.

Is Nutrigenomic DNA testing Available Now?

DNA testing is currently offered in Australia by a handful of companies.

You order a kit in which you collect some saliva or a cheek swab, this is then sent off for testing and a few weeks later you will receive a detailed report with your genetic findings.

Unfortunately, some companies may be over-promising when it comes to how many genes they can test. Some SNPs do not have sufficient evidence to support the health outcomes they are associated with. Additionally, there may be a lack of evidence to support appropriate dietary advice the would benefit a specific SNP.

Food.com.au has reviewed a number companies offering DNA testing in Australia, you can read the full review here. We found that one company in particular, myDNA, ticked all the boxes for a reputable and well-priced DNA test that you can easily administer yourself.

Their Wellness and Nutrition test looks at 7 specific genes, all related to weight management and cardiovascular health. The website clearly states which genes are tested and provides supporting evidence for both the function of the gene and the dietary recommendations. The accompanying report gives specific recommendations for each gene, as well as an overall recommendation for the type of dietary pattern that would be best suited to you. There are six general dietary patterns you may be recommended to follow, all of which adhere to the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

Take Action – Personalised Nutrition

Voucher Code: foodcomau20

$20 off Diet, Fitness and Diet + Fitness kits

Can Genetic Testing Help with Your Weight loss and Health Goals?

DNA testing is an additional tool that can be used to develop more precise, individualised recommendations for weight loss and health outcomes.

While a DNA test is not going to provide you with a magic bullet, the information could be instrumental for developing sustainable lifestyle habits.

The most benefit will be seen when the results of your genetic report are used in conjunction with advice from a qualified nutritionist or dietitian.

Any nutritionist or dietitian will be able to use the information provided in the healthcare professional section of the report to help you develop a personalised plan. Food.com.au have also put together a list of nutrition professionals that specialise in nutrigenomics which you can find here.

There are also a variety of resources available on food.com.au to help you get the most out of your DNA test report.

You can calculate your energy requirements, which will give you a better understanding of how much food your body actually needs based on your activity levels and lifestyle. You can then apply any of the recommended calorie restrictions (outlined in the report) for weight loss.

You can access a database of recipes based on your recommended dietary pattern. For a detailed explanation of each dietary pattern take a look at these articles.

  • Higher protein
  • Higher protein, lower fat
  • Lower fat
  • Mediterranean
  • Higher protein, lower fat – Omega-3 rich
  • Lower fat – Omega-3 rich

Take Action – Personalised Nutrition

Voucher Code: foodcomau20

$20 off Diet, Fitness and Diet + Fitness kits

For healthcare professionals and those with a keen interest in nutrigenomics, you can find articles exploring the evidence behind each gene and dietary recommendations here: https://food.com.au/personalised-nutrition-based-on-your-dna-part-1-the-best-diet-for-your-genes/

Disclosure statement: Food.com.au have chosen to affiliate with myDNA because we believe they align with our evidence based approach to nutrition and health. We only affiliate with companies we have researched and find to be based on the current scientific literature.

 

Eleise Britt
Author
Eleise Britt is a university qualified Nutritionist with a Master of Human Nutrition from Deakin University, aspiring scientist and currently completing Bachelor of Science. She’s also a professional freelance writer in the field of nutritional genomics and gut health.

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