How Knowing Your Genetics Can Be The Key To Fighting The Battle Of The Bulge

By: Kristin Kirkpatrick Posted on March 11, 2019

How Knowing Your Genetics Can Be The Key To Fighting The Battle Of The Bulge

Finding the Best Diet for Weight Loss

A 67 year old married woman came to me with the hopes of determining the best diet to combat the stubborn belly fat that had plagued her once she went into menopause. Her visit was prompted by the frustration that her attempt at a ketogenic diet (a method characterized by a high intake of saturated fat) that worked for so many of her friends had in fact failed her. Not only did she not lose weight during the diet, she felt that her favorite jeans were actually tighter. This woman is a great example of someone who valued trends over her own genetic needs.

In my previous Speaking of Women's Health nutrigenomics column, you learned the overall benefits of nutrigenomics testing, but did you know that the test can be a game changer if your main goal is weight loss?

Nutrigenomics Helps Find Best Weight Loss Program

The woman’s nutrigenomics test showed a high probability that she would not do well on diets that were heavy in saturated fats. The test also showed the benefits of engagement in a regular exercise plan that included resistance training, which incorporates fast twitch muscle fibers. 

The woman had a TT variant of the TCF7L2 gene. Individuals with such genotypes are more likely to lose weight when the fat in their diet is moderate to low. She also had a GG variant of the PPARγ2 genes which means that in addition to keeping her fat intake lower, her type of fat consumed should favor monounsaturated forms such as: 

  • olive oil
  • nuts
  • avocado (as opposed to coconut oil and red meat)

The woman also had variants of a gene known as the “fat mass and obesity-associated” gene, or FTO. The FTO gene is expressed in regions of the brain responsible for the regulation of energy intake. It can impact metabolic rate and energy expenditure, and variations of the gene can predict a lot about the best ways to lose weight in an individual. Her genotype of the FTO gene indicated as well that saturated fat should be kept lower (and polyunsaturated fats favored), and that she would most likely benefit more than the average person from an exercise program to lose fat and overall weight. Another marker on the FTO gene that was tested showed that she had variants associated with greater weight loss results when a higher protein diet was consumed.

Healthy Results

After her visit and nutrigenomics testing, the woman completely changed her diet and exercise regimen: 

  • She is now on a moderate fat Mediterranean protocol, which incorporates plenty of protein in the form of fish, chicken breast, beans and legumes. 
  • She also does strength training group activities three times per week. 

She not only fits better in those jeans that were too tight, she’s down a size and happier than ever. She used her genetics to her advantage, and the results were better than she could have ever predicted.

Your genes don’t dictate your destiny, but they sure can lead you down the right road towards success in weight loss! 

Step One: Order the Kit from Nutrigenomix

Order your test-kit directly from Nutrigenomix. Cost is $249, payable directly to Nutrigenomix.

The kit will come directly to your home and will include instructions on how to submit the sample and mail back. It will include a self-addressed envelope to send your kit back. Once you send your results back in, it will take anywhere from 3-6 weeks for your Cleveland Clinic Coordinator to obtain your results.

Step Two: Schedule a Consult

Once your results are in, a scheduling coordinator will call you to set up a private appointment with a Wellness Institute registered dietitian. The appointment will be 1-hour in length and your test will be emailed to you at that time so you and the dietitian can go through the results together. The dietitian will call you on the day of the appointment. The consult cost is $95 and is not covered by insurance.

To learn more, visit clevelandclinic.org.

Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be in Charge!

-Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD

Kristin Kirkpatrick is the President of KAK, Consulting, LLC and a dietitian and consultant of Wellness Nutrition Services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute in Cleveland, Ohio. She is a best-selling author, an experienced presenter, and an award winning Dietitian. Kristin has been seen on both local and national shows such as the TODAY show, NBC Nightly News and the Dr. Oz show.

Kristin has over 18 years of experience in the health management area, holds an MS in Health Promotion Management from American University in Washington, D.C., and a BA in Political Science from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She is licensed as a Registered Dietitian in the state of Ohio. In January 2017, Kristin published her first book, Skinny Liver: A Proven Program to Prevent and Reverse the New Silent Epidemic—Fatty Liver Disease.


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