Ever since the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2004, scientists have been busy unraveling the mysteries associated with genetics. Research shows that a person’s genetic information holds the clue to a person’s overall health, including risk from diseases and vulnerabilities to certain conditions. DNA tests are becoming ever popular because almost everyone is curious about their genetic information. The fitness and biotechnology companies have taken a hitch on this bandwagon to promote their brand of personalized wellness solutions based on a genetic study.
DNAFit, uBiome, FitnessGenes, and Nutrigenomix are some of the large companies which are trying to exploit this recent surge of interest in genes and the secrets they hide. These companies claim to provide personalized activity charts as well as dietary recommendations established from the results of the genetic tests. Is it worth it? Or is it simply a myth?
What is a DNA-based Diet?
Health is of paramount importance in this fast and modern world. A lot of youngsters are working on their wellness through well-thought-out diet plans. There is an increasing demand for fitness magazines, exercising equipment, and protein drinks. Fitness companies like to cash in on this surge in demand and hence they have now taken to providing DNA-based fitness solutions.
In this scenario, scientists working for a company such as DNAFit or uBiome will evaluate your genetic material from your DNA. They conduct a series of tests, give you all the necessary information about their findings, and come up with a special chart just for you. This chart may be a diet chart or it can even be an exercise chart. These charts are personalized according to the results of your DNA tests. Since your genetic material is being studied before coming up with a solution to your fitness woes, most people believe that this is the best way to attain fine health and maintain a favorable diet. Is it?
Research on DNA-based Diet
Nutrigenomics, as you may have already guessed from the name, is a study of nutrients and genes. A relatively new branch of study, a lot of research is in place to understand the relationship between the two components. While a lot of practitioners advocate this concept, the complex mechanisms involved are yet to be fully understood. Thus, basing a diet on science that is yet to be completely understood is premature in the first place. Secondly, even scientists cannot say for sure how genetics affect nutrient intake and other metabolic processes. However, certain nutrients or foods are known to alter gene expression in complex ways that are beyond our understanding as of this moment.
Are There Any Benefits?
Advocates of DNA-based diets emphasize that metabolization is in different people because of the difference in their genetic configurations. They say that the way our body breaks nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, or fats is different and hence, each one of us needs a different diet. According to the propagators of a DNA-based diet, a diet chart prepared by your genetic makeup is what would help you combat diseases.
Building fitness based on personalized diet plans is advisable, but the credibility it holds in terms of being DNA specific is debatable. There is not enough evidence available to back up the claim, though scientists are trying to break the code. A 2015 meta-analysis to study if diets can be tailored to work as per the in-built genetic information of a person found the evidence to be scant and not substantial enough.
Should You Make A Switch?
A person’s health is influenced by a lot of factors. Everything from the food we eat to the air we breathe. In other words, both biotic factors such as the food we eat and abiotic factors such as weather, the water we drink, or the air we breathe contribute to a person’s overall well-being. While trying to fix a diet it is only reasonable that we take into account all such external abiotic factors and not just a person’s genetic information.
Certain diseases are genetic and their treatment lies in our genes. However, saying that a fitness module can be based on your genes is too farfetched because we are not even remotely close to understanding the mystery of genetics and genes. The young generation is one of the easy targets for profit-orientated companies trying to sell health in jars. In my opinion, it is better to base your fitness module and diet chart on factors that you can feel and understand rather than complex codes inside your cells.