Diet Success May Depend on Your DNA


Source: Texas A & M University

Summary: In a new study, researchers found that one diet really doesn’t fit all, and what works for some may not be best for others.


One more thing has been added to the list of traits affected by genetics is how our bodies respond to a particular diet. Dietary advice from most organizations tends to be based on the theory that there is going to be one diet which suits everyone. But the face of obesity outbreak shows that the guidelines are not so effective. In a new study, researchers from the Texas A & M University found that one diet really doesn’t fit all, and what works for some may not be best for others. The study was published in the journal Genetics.

one diet really doesn't fit all

Diet success may depend on your DNA. Credit: Texas A&M University Health Science Center

Four different groups of animal models were used to observe how five diets affect their health over a 6-month period. The genetic differences were almost non-existent within each group. The researchers choose the test diets to mirror those eaten by humans –

American-style diet  – Higher in fat and refined carbs, especially corn.

Mediterranean-style diet – With wheat and red wine extract.

Japanese-style diet – With rice and green tea extract.

Ketogenic or Atkins diet – High in fat and protein with very few carbs.

Fifth diet – Standard commercial chow. (Control group)

Animal models responded differently to different diet types, for example, the fourth strain did well in all diet types, but did terrible in the Japanese-style diet. Similarly, with Atkins diet – two genetic types did well and two did very badly. The researchers measured physical signs, especially of metabolic syndrome which is a collection of signs of obesity-related problems such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, fatty liver and blood sugar levels. The final results demonstrated that a diet that makes one individual lean and healthy might have the complete opposite effect on another. Diet success depends very much on the genetics of the individual and there isn’t one diet that is best for everyone.

Lead author, William T. Barrington said, “One day, we’d love to develop a genetic test that could tell each person the best diet for their own genetic makeup”, “There might be a geographical difference based on what your ancestors ate, but we just don’t know enough to say for sure yet.”


More Information: William T. Barrington et al, “Improving Metabolic Health Through Precision Dietetics in Mice”, Genetics(2017). DOI: 10.1534/genetics.117.300536


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