Your DNA Has No Relation To Your Weight Loss Diet, New Study Says

What is a macrobiotic diet?
Stanford University researchers wanted to know whether a person’s DNA ultimately affects how efficiently they lose weight when given the right type of diet. The result? Turns out DNA might be irrelevant.   ( Pixabay )

A new study suggests that a person's DNA is irrelevant when it comes choosing the right diet for them. Previous research maintains that insulin levels or certain genes could interact with a person's type of diet and ultimately influence the effectiveness of their weight loss.

Researchers from the Stanford University had this premise in mind when they studied over 600 overweight adults who were placed on genetic and insulin testing before being randomly assigned to reduce either fat or carb intake.

From the testing, the researchers determined that their subjects had varied genes linked with how their bodies process fat or carbs, and they thought these variations would ultimately make them more likely to lose weight when given the right type of diet. They divided them into three categories — those with gene variants sensitive to dietary fats, those sensitive to carbs, and those who have no such sensitivities — and gave each one the appropriate diet.

Your DNA Is Irrelevant To Your Weight Loss

The results? Turns out it doesn't matter what genes say — if people pick either a low-carb or low-fat diet and stick to it, they'll lose weight regardless. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Feb. 20.

After a year of dieting, those on the low-fat diet lost an average of 11.5 pounds, while those on the low-carb lost an average of 13 pounds. Ultimately, none of the preliminary metabolic and insulin tests proved that they were good indicators of a proper diet.

Considering some facilities have cashed in on DNA-based diets, the results are important in disproving the notion that DNA plays any significant role in how efficiently a person loses weight.

"[T]here was no significant difference in weight change between a healthy low-fat diet vs a healthy low-carbohydrate diet, and neither genotype pattern nor baseline insulin secretion were associated with the dietary effects on weight loss," according to the paper.

Better Indicators

While metabolic and genomic testing aren't good indicators of how efficiently a body loses weight, the researchers warned that in the future, there might be new research that'll bring up better predictors of which diets work best for a person.

The study has already attracted critics, however. According to Frank Hu, nutrition chief at Harvard's School of Public Health, the study wasn't a comprehensive test of all gene variations that might affect a person's reaction to certain diets.

"In any weight loss diets, adherence to the diet and the overall quality of the diet are probably more important than any other factors," said Hu.

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