At any given time only about ten percent of you genes are thought to be active. They are switched on and off in response to all kinds of internal and environmental changes. This is particularly true in the metabolic pathways, where gene activation is an essential part of the normal response to dietary changes. We also know that many of us have genetic reasons for varying in our nutritional requirements.
Anybody who has looked into diet and nutrition knows that there is no one approach that works for everyone, and the Holy Grail of weight management is to be able to identify which diet will work for whom.
This goal has just come a little closer with the publication of a report from researchers in Greece, London and Colorado that has been published in the Nutrition Journal.
The paper, “Improved weight management using genetic information to personalize a calorie controlled diet” is available for free download.” The study population consisted of 50 patients who had failed to lose weight. They were offered a nutrigenetic test screening 24 variants in 19 genes involved in metabolism. 43 patients attending the same clinic were selected for comparison using algorithms to match age, sex, frequency of clinical visits and BMI at initial clinic visit. The second group of 43 patients did not receive a nutrigenetic test. BMI reduction at 100 and over 300 days and blood fasting glucose were measured.
The results are very promising. After 300 days of follow-up individuals in the nutrigenetic group were more likely to have maintained some weight loss (73%) than those in the comparison group (32%). Average BMI reduction in the nutrigenetic group was 1.93 kg/m2 (5.6% loss) vs. an average BMI gain of 0.51 kg/m2 (2.2% gain). Among patients with a starting blood fasting glucose of >100 mg/dL, 57% (17/30) of the nutrigenetic group but only 25% (4/16) of the non-tested group had levels reduced to <100 mg/dL after >90 days of weight management therapy.
The paper concludes by saying that the addition of nutrigenetically tailored diets resulted in better compliance, longer-term BMI reduction and improvements in blood glucose levels.
This is a small “proof of concept” study, and the effects are not enormous, but there is easily enough here already to vigorously pursue this genetic approach.