DNA Diet does not work!

, , ,

Posted 22 February 2018

On February the 8th we published the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in which they stated “the use of nutrigenetic testing to provide dietary advice is not ready for routine dietetics practice”.

We commented: As far back as 2011, we pointed out that the evidence in support to the DNA diet, marketed, promoted and sold by Dr. Daniel Meyersfeld, Yael Joffe, (DNAnalysis) was inadequate, i.e., there is no proof that their diet would benefit or work.

A study has just been published in which a low-fat diet was compared with a low-carb diet. The researchers assessed whether DNA diets were able to predict a beneficial diet.

People in both groups did lose weight over the course of a year: an average of 11.7 pounds for the low-fat group, and 13.2 for the low-carb set. But the difference between how much weight people lost on average was so small that researchers don’t consider it to be statistically significant. And when they compared participants’ genetic analysis across groups, they found no correlation. That is, people seemed to respond about the same to the weight loss regimen, no matter what their genetics might indicate.

Note: As pointed out in Business Insider, in reality, the study did not compare a truly low-carb diet against a low-fat one. The people in the low-carb group were actually eating relatively high amounts of carbs -they were nowhere near the next-to-nothing carb counts that people on regimens like the keto diet achieve. That is, they were unable to limit their carbs except at the start. 

Sorry, DNA-Based Diets Don’t Work

Futurism

IN BRIEF

Diets personalized to individuals’ DNA are all the rage. Unfortunately, they don’t work any better than your typical diet, according to a new study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28027950

Diets have always gone through fads. The grapefruit diet, Atkins, paleo, Whole30 — like a many-headed weight-loss hydra, just as soon as one falls out of favor, another rises in its place.

The weight-loss technique du jour: DNA-based diets. Companies such as DNAFit and Helix suggest consumers pay about $100 and a simple cheek swab; the resulting genomic analysis will purportedly show them what kind of diet will keep their bodies in peak health. Maybe a low-fat diet would work best to help you slim down — or maybe it’s a low-carb diet. These companies claim (with some scientific support) that individuals’ genomic code can hold information about a person’s propensity to obesity – and that the diets they suggest would counteract that.

But a recent study shows these DNA-based diets may be just another fad.

In the study, published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers put 609 overweight adults on one of two diets: a low-fat diet, or a low-carb diet. Both groups successfully implemented their new eating habits, and both lost weight over the course of the year. Using DNA tests, and by assessing a number of other biological factors, the researchers hypothesized whether a low-carb or low-fat diet should work for each person.

People in both groups did lose weight over the course of a year: an average of 11.7 pounds for the low-fat group, and 13.2 for the low-carb set. But the difference between how much weight people lost on average was so small that researchers don’t consider it to be statistically significant. And when they compared participants’ genetic analysis across groups, they found no correlation. That is, people seemed to respond about the same to the weight loss regimen, no matter what their genetics might indicate.

Someday, this could all change — DNA has the potential to help us figure out the best things to eat. DNA analysis yields pretty much the same results each time, but it’s the interpretation that varies because the results are probabilistic. A certain genetic variant might mean someone is more likely to display a particular trait, but it gets complicated when you start to take other genetic variants into account that might turn others “off” or “on.”

When you start to think about the effect of the environment on these genes, the picture starts to get way more complicated. It’s all a matter of drawing conclusions from the data that’s available. For now, scientists haven’t been able to untangle all those factors. That will likely change as they get a better sense of the inner-workings of the genome.

Yes, these diets could someday be much more prescriptive and individualized. But that day is not today. At least for now, these diets are pretty useless.

Here’s some good diet advice: eat more fruits and vegetables. That’s one tidbit that will never go out of style.

, , ,

2 Responses to DNA Diet does not work!

  1. Stefanie 24 February, 2018 at 10:34 pm #

    Hi Dr. Harris

    Will the MCC or any legal authority ever take action against TNT Mercury and Ciccone Pharma for openly promoting steroids and selling to the public?

    There’s kids under the age of 18 in our gym influenced by these brands openly promoting and admitting the use of anabolic steroids.

    https://www.instagram.com/tnt_ciccone_cult/

    Truly hope something can be done

    • Harris 26 February, 2018 at 7:54 am #

      @Stefanie
      Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
      I am amazed by the brazen promoting of steroids!
      Unfortunately the MCC has transitioned to SAHPRA (South African Health Products Regulatory Authority) and so nothing is happening, as if the MCC was any effective at all.
      I will see if I can alert someone to this, but my experience is that there is more chance of hell freezing over than SAHPRA taking action.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.