Can our DNA tell us how to diet and exercise?

Klaudia Balogh

It's common knowledge that there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to dieting and training; what works for one person won't work for another.

But why? We're all different and the main thing that makes us diverse biologically and physiologically is our DNA. Could this be the key to finding out what works for you?

DNAFit offers tests to find out just this, by looking at how certain genes in our DNA affect our body’s response to exercise and nutrition changes.

DNA testing in in increasing demand now that it costs an affordable couple hundred of pounds. Instead of spending years working our what diet or what fitness class works for you, could a DNA test tell you in less than two weeks?

The test tells you whether you respond better to a higher-carbohydrate diet or higher-fat diet, and whether you're more suited to power or endurance training. In other words, HIIT training or long distance running?

It also points out details such as caffeine and alcohol sensitivity, lactose intolerance, vitamin needs, injury risks and recovery speed.

How does it work?

It looks at single-nucleotide polymorphisms, SNPs or “snips”, which are the most common type of genetic variation among people. They are used in genetic studies to help predict an individual’s response to certain drugs, susceptibility to environmental factors such as toxins, and risk of developing certain diseases.

Using a simple swab test, DNAFit takes a number of these SNPs and incorporates them into a genetic scoring system.

How accurate these results can be?

Those who’ve taken the test say it works, but a London genetics specialist says it’s a “complicated picture”.

Frances Quinn, winner of the Great British Bake Off in 2013, and Greg Rutherford, Olympic long jump champion, both took the test to find out if their fitness and nutrition programmes were on the right track

Watch the video above to see what they thought and whether it's science or just another fad.


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