How Your Genes May Dictate Your Perfect Diet

How Your Genes May Dictate Your Perfect Diet

By: Kristin Kirkpatrick • Posted on August 22, 2018


Have you ever wondered why some people can drink coffee all day and not be impacted by the caffeine, while others feel jittery after just one cup? Or why some people lose weight on a low fat diet while others gain weight? The answer may be in your genes. 

Though all humans are 99.5% identical, it’s that small 0.5% of our DNA that make us unique. These DNA snippets can dictate how you respond to certain nutrients, how likely you are to be salt sensitive, or even whether or not you crave sugar.

That’s right, you may be genetically predisposed to love sugar! A one size fits all approach to diet and lifestyle has not yet been the answer. After all, we remain an overweight and sick nation. But, what if your diet could be personalized to you, your needs, and your genes? Now it can.

An area of research called nutrigenomics has emerged in the past decade and provides a personalized roadmap on what you should, and should not eat, and even the ideal macronutrient breakdown for successful weight loss. The science of nutrigenomics is gaining interest in the media. Many news outlets have written about the benefits, and importance of a personalized approach to diet and lifestyle changes.

What is Nutrigenomics?

Nutrigenomics is the study of how nutrients and genes interact, especially as it relates to metabolism, body composition and chronic disease risk. Nutrigenomics can identify an individualized perspective into your DNA and how nutrients (macronutrients and micronutrients) alter certain metabolic processes such as how our genes are expressed and metabolism. Studies show that personalized approaches to behavior change based on genetics improves eating habits, resulting in greater compliance, compared to more general approaches and may be more effective in maintaining long term health. 

Testing for your genetic profile starts with providing just a small sample of saliva, which then goes to a CLIA certified lab where it is analyzed (genotyped) for 45 genes associated with nutrition, fitness, body composition and health. Your results then get translated into a personalized report that will be reviewed with you by a registered dietitian, nutritionist or physician.

What Will a Nutrigenomics Test Tell You?

Some examples of what you can learn in a nutrigenomics test include the following:

  • Which nutrients you may need more of, such as B12, folate, iron or calcium
  • Which foods most greatly impact your cardiometabolic health, such as caffeine, omega 3 fat, sodium and whole grains
  • The best macronutrient breakdown for effective weight loss (lower saturated fat, higher protein, etc.)
  • Potential food intolerances to either lactose or gluten
  • The influence that genetics has on your eating habits such as sugar intake, or fat taste perception
  • Which exercise habits and injuries may impact you the most

How To Get The Test

The Cleveland Clinic has partnered with the company Nutrigenomix® to provide a safe, secure and reliable testing procedure and analysis. Learn more about how you can get a nutrigenomics test.

Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be in Charge!

Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD


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