Atkins. Keto. Paleo. Weight Watchers.
These names may rumble some repressed memories of the myriad of diets, programmes and more that didn’t bring you anywhere closer to your health goals. Every month, new diets pop up, claiming to be the biggest revolution in nutrition. Inevitably, they fail to be effective.
One issue with these diets is that they are a one-size-fits-all solution and approach to nutrition. One of our core values at Nell is that we truly understand no body is ordinary. Each body is unique, and we want to help every individual optimise and protect theirs.
However, this is not the only reason why these approaches are many a time fruitless endeavours. An often overlooked explanation is that your body isn’t efficient in processing certain nutrients and vitamins.
An answer lies in nutrigenetics - the intersection of nutrition and DNA. Doing a DNA test will help you pinpoint how to tailor your diet to make it optimised to your health goals.
Traditionally, nutrition research focused on blanket requirements, only differentiating by age or gender. But, what works for the average human almost never works for the individual.
Nutrigenetic researchers explore how diet affects the expression of certain genes and how it interferes with dietary requirement, building and validating evidence that nutritional experts can use to develop strategies that personalised to you and your genetic makeup.
For example, one of the heavily researched genes in nutrition is the FTO gene and its relationship to weight management. A meta-analysis found that individuals with a certain version (A-allele) of the FTO rs9939609 gene experienced lesser weight loss than those without this genetic variant. Having this certain variant of FTO gene also means that following a diet high in saturated fats or high in sugary drinks would augment your risk of obesity, much more compared to someone without this genetic variant.
Knowing this sort of information about weight management and your ability to metabolise different nutrients will be crucial in reaching your health goals as you eat according to your DNA. If you learn with a Nell Discovery test that you have a certain variant of the FTO gene, leading to poor weight management, Nell can personalise your insights by recommending you increase physical activity to above average as it would decrease risk of adiposity by 27% and suggesting alternative foods that low in saturated fats.
Individuals on a DNA-diet are more likely to benefit from a balanced diet weight management strategy compared to those with standard diets. Even compared to specific diets, such as a ketogenic diet, nutrigenetics continues to outperform. A recent study found that those who had a nutrigenetic-based diet experienced more weight loss after 18 months and better improvements in blood sugar and cholesterol levels compared those on a ketogenic diet.
Sometimes, the biggest factor pulling you back from reaching your health goals is motivation. Studies have shown that doing a nutrigenetics DNA test can increase the likelihood of behaviour and habits changing. The greater the personal salience of the information provided, the greater the impact.
A systematic review found that actionable results informed by DNA tests were more likely to facilitate lifestyle changes, especially in nutrition. Using genetic information, Nell provides personalised actionable insights that individuals use to truly create tangible change in their well-being. Tailoring it to an individual’s needs increases the value of the recommendations, making you more likely to engage and remain loyal to your lifestyle changes.
If this is the case, then why hasn’t everyone taken a DNA test?
People are often reluctant to share sensitive and private information which is essential to deliver high quality personalised nutrition strategies. A qualitative study concluded that when results were discussed face-to-face with an expert and justified by thorough scientific evidence, it mitigated the perception of privacy. We understand this, which is why at Nell we provide virtual consultations with our leading genetic and medical experts who break down your report, translating every piece so that you truly understand your body.
Nutrigenetics is taking the centre stage as healthcare is moving towards a preventative approach. Optimising your nutrition according to your DNA will facilitate your maximum potential.