Genetic Testing to Help Dieters Lose Weight
Studies suggested that your genes determine up to 80% of your weight and body shape. A new genetic test may help pinpoint those genes that inappropriately metabolize certain nutrients and lead dieters toward the best weight loss program to reach a healthy body weight.
Interleukin Genetics Inc presented their research Wednesday at the American Heart Association meeting, conducted at Stanford University in California. The small study included about 140 overweight or obese women who were assigned to certain diets based upon testing for certain mutations in three genes, FABP2, PPARG, and ADRB2. The DNA was collected using a simple cheek swab.
The FABP2 gene, which stands for Fatty Acid Binding Protein 2, affects the absorption of fat from the intestine. People with a mutation in this gene absorb more fat from their food, and should stick to low-fat diets. The PPARG (Peroxisome Proliferators Activated Receptor Gamma) gene affects insulin response. Those with a defect on this gene store more carbohydrate as fat. The Beta 2 Adrenergic Receptor (ADRB2) affected both systems, creating a situation where a person has to watch both carbs and fat.
Those women who were on a “genotype-appropriate” diet lost 5.3% of body weight compared to those who were on diets that did not match their genetic results, who only experienced about a 2.3% weight loss.
Interleukin Genetics states that 39% of white Americans have a genotype that makes a low-fat diet the best choice for optimal weight loss while about 45% have the type that responds to a lower-carbohydrate diet. 16% have the genetic mutation that helps them lose weight on a “balanced diet” similar to The Zone which divides total calories almost equally between fat, carbohydrate, and protein.
"The potential of using genetic information to achieve this magnitude of weight loss without pharmaceutical intervention would be important in helping to solve the pervasive problem of excessive weight in our society," said Christopher Gardner from Stanford University.
Interleukin Genetics plans broader studies and will market the test under the brand name of “Inherent Health.” The test will cost $149.