Getting your DNA tested to discover your ancestry is fascinating. I never would have thought that I’m 4% Pacific Islander! But beyond revealing what part of the world your ancestors come from, genetic testing may provide insight into what exercises, diet and supplements are best for our own unique biochemistry. Is DNA testing for weight loss worth it?….
But here’s a weight loss phenomenon you may not have heard about: DNA testing.
Almost everybody knows that you can easily find out what your ethnicity is by taking a genetic test from companies like Ancestry.com and 23andme.com, the latter of which is so-named because human cells contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, those proteins that provide specific instructions that make you, uniquely you. (The 23rd pair determine whether you’re male or female.)
Have you ever seen the TV series on PBS, Finding Your Roots? I love it. If you’ve never seen it, check it out. It’s hosted by Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who on each episode, sits down with celebrities and presents them with a “book of life,” which is basically a family tree prepared by professional genealogists.
Imagine the shock and horror that befell Seinfeld- and Curb Your Enthusiasm-creator Larry David when he learned that he has slave-owning Confederate ancestors who lived in Alabama!
Beyond learning about your ancestral history (and potentially discovering fascinating or even embarrassing secrets about your family tree), DNA testing may also reveal the best way for you to lose weight.
I recently read a couple different accounts of getting DNA testing done to learn what type of exercise, diet and supplements are best for weight loss. I’ll sum up for you what I think about this new health trend that’s certainly going to become just as popular as CBD oil, intermittent fasting, and golden milk…
Genetic Testing for Weight Loss: How Does It Work?
When I was growing up, DNA testing for ancestry seemed like something out of a science fiction movie. But nowadays, it’s pretty commonplace. All it takes is a little bit of saliva and about $100 for the test.
In addition to genetic testing for ancestry, DNA tests can reveal potential disease markers that you’re carrying, such as sickle-cell anemia.
But genetic testing for weight loss? How is that even a thing?
Here’s how it works … at least in theory.
Just like your DNA can reveal which chromosomes you share with certain ethnic group, your genes can reveal, for example, what type of exercise will make you look better in jeans. Sprinting or long-distance running? Cardio or weight lifting? How do you know which is better for you, to help you lose weight?
This is the type of info that the first wave of “genetic fitness” companies are offering.
How do these genetic research companies know what type of exercise is better for you?
For starters, each person has a different composition of muscle fiber. Some people have more of what are called “fast-twitch muscle fibers” while other people have a greater amount of slow-twitch muscle fibers. For those with more fast-twitch muscle fibers, high-intensity interval training that involves sprints may be better for weight loss. On the other hand, slower-paced exercise would be better for someone with more slow-twitch muscle fibers.
Think of it this way: there are different yoga styles. Someone who is out of shape and overweight probably shouldn’t try an Ashtanga class. And according to these first-0n-the-scene genetic fitness companies, exercise isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution….
DNA Testing for Diet & Supplements
You may have heard of the Blood Type Diet, which, for example, suggests that if you’re let’s say a Type O blood type, you should eat a high-protein diet, heavy on lean meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables, and light on grains, beans, and dairy.
It’s pretty easy to find out your blood type. Your doctor can order a test for you.
And now, it’s almost as easy to find out what vitamins and minerals you may deficient in. The way it works is your regular doctor can submit your DNA tests to a company called PureGenomics, which will analyze your DNA and provide recommendations on what foods you should eat as well as supplements that may improve your overall health.
But let’s say you have an extra two- or three-hundred bucks to spend…. should you spend it on genetic testing in hopes that the recommendations you’ll receive will help you lose weight?
Sorry, but from the reports I’ve read on DNA testing for weight loss, the science behind it is very much still in the early phases; although it’s promising, it seems like it’s got a while to go before it’s accurate enough for it to be worth it.
So until then, I’m going to stick to what I know works for weight loss, for everybody:
- Green Drinks (very rare is the person who doesn’t benefit from getting more leafy greens in their diet)
- Avoid added sugars as much as possible
- Managing stress through meditation, yoga and mindfulness practices
- Intermittent Fasting and occasional Cleanses
- Being active almost every day of the year and getting enough sleep
The future of genetic testing for weight loss seems within grasp. But until the science evolves more, to me, it’s still the realm of science fiction….