DNA diet tailored to your genes can help you lose 11lbs over four months
Success story: Natasha Addis tried the new diet after putting on weight and ended up losing 15lbs in eight weeks (see case study below)
A personalised ‘DNA’ diet that produced an average weight loss of 11lb over four months in trials is to go on widespread sale today.
The Nordiska diet, developed with the help of experts at Newcastle University, is based on the premise that genetic testing can determine the right food and exercise regime for your body type.
Thought to be the first genetic-based diet available in the UK, it is being sold online at 99 for the gene test alone, and in a 159 package including three months of follow-up advice from dietitians.
A trial on 7,700 people in Denmark saw nine out of ten lose weight, with some losing up to 26lb (12kg) in four months.
Dieters are asked to complete a questionnaire and send a DNA swab of their mouth in for laboratory analysis.
The diet’s creator, cell biologist Dr Carolyn Horrocks, said her firm, myGenomics, examines the swab for eight variants of seven genes.
These genes relate to how quickly an individual metabolises fat and carbohydrate, appetite control and muscle activity.
A 30-page personalised report assigns the individual one of four types of diet: low in fat; low in carbohydrate; low glycaemic; or healthy balanced.
This is combined with a type of exercise: endurance or high-intensity.
All dieters are recommended three meals and three snacks a day, to a total of 1,300 to 1,800 calories.
No foods are forbidden, just restricted, and those with the 159 package must fill in weekly food diaries so the company’s dietitians can provide regular feedback.
Dr Horrocks teamed up with Danish GP Carl Brandt on the diet concept after she came up with the idea while researching the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes.
Natasha Addis lost 15lbs after following the diet for eight weeks
She said: ‘Each of us has a unique genetic fingerprint which shows why some types of diet work for people and not for others.
‘I realised genetic variants were being analysed for very technical purposes but they could be used by people in their everyday life to control their weight and help prevent the sort of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease that I was working on.
Treat: The diet says that no food is forbidden, just restricted, with those taking part recommended to eat three meals and snacks a day
‘If something is right for your body, it will be easier to stick to, less arduous and we have shown you have a greater chance of keeping the weight off.’
She said the approach is intended to produce ‘slow and steady’ weight loss, and is not related to the blood group diet which has been criticised by experts.
She added: ‘It’s not a fad diet, all our dietitians and trainers are registered and have a science background.’
The Denmark trial was carried out by
Newcastle University and colleagues in Copenhagen on men and women with
an average age of 40 who had a BMI of 30 to 35.
A smaller study of 21 volunteers showed they managed to keep the weight they lost in the first three months off for 20 months.
Ursula Arens, of the British Dietetic Association, said she was ‘open-minded’ about the diet but added: ‘Genes do play a role in being overweight but there are hundreds of genes involved and I’m not sure it’s as simple as this.
‘In reality I think it’s minor compared to lifestyle and the need to just eat fewer calories and burn more.’
A range of healthy muffins has been created by Harvard nutritionists to help dispel the myth that a low-fat diet is best. Studies show low-fat diets are no better for health and for some people may be worse.
The five muffin recipes from the Harvard School of Public Health use healthy fats and wholegrains but cut down on sugar and salt.