What does nutrigenetics mean?
To some extent, genes are the building instructions and instructions for use for our organism. Our genes determine how certain processes occur in our body, how tall we are, the color of our eyes and our susceptibility to developing certain diseases. Our genes make us the people we are. However, 99.7% of all people’s genes are completely identical. We differ from each other by only 0.3 percent of our genes. But that 0.3 percent obviously has a huge impact on our appearance and how our bodies function. Some people cannot tolerate gluten or cannot digest lactose. Other people have extremely fast metabolisms and can eat without building up a lot of fat stores. The reason for such individual peculiarities lies in the smallest variations in our genes.
This is where nutrigenetics comes into play. Nutrigenetics is a branch of nutrition research. Nutrigenetics researchers investigate Connections between diet and human genetics. And exciting discoveries have been made in recent years. Researchers have identified the FTO gene, for example, which appears to be linked to the development of obesity. The gene determines the extent to which fat cells burn or store fat. The known lactose intolerance is also due to a specific gene. In lactose intolerant people, the gene responsible for controlling the lactose-degrading enzyme lactase is inactive.
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Based on these scientific findings, a kind of nutritional trend has developed around nutrigenetics. There are now a number of lifestyle companies offering genetic testing assessments in order to provide customers with personalized nutrition recommendations based on their genes.
How does the personalized genetic diet work?
The idea sounds tempting: a bespoke nutrition plan based on DNA analysis. Lose weight and live healthy with the help of your genome information. Providers of such genetic diets and nutrigenetic analyzes sell test kits to interested parties with which they can take a saliva sample. The saliva sample is then sent to the genetic testing provider, who has the sample tested in the laboratory. In most cases, the genes are actually sequenced. After a few days or weeks, clients then receive the result of the genetic analysis and find out, for example, what their genes reveal about their metabolic types, which sports activities promise success or what amount of calories is optimal. Alone: Science is still a long way from naming the actual causal relationships between certain genes and the use of food. Although the connections between genes and some diet-related diseases are known, this is still not enough for the creation of personalized nutrition plans.
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Nutrigenetics: Don’t blindly trust lifestyle products
The nutrigenetics approach is quite understandable. Our genes determine the blueprints of our body and how all the metabolic processes that our body carries out work. How we react to food, whether we are prone to allergies or are prone to developing certain diseases, depends on the individual variations of our genes. Therefore, it is natural to explore the extent to which our genes affect the way nutrients are processed and converted in our body.
And no matter how great many people’s desire for personalized nutritional counseling based on genetic analysis, there is still no scientific basis for making reliable claims about the interaction between genes and nutrition. Many test kits available free of charge for individual genetic testing are pure lifestyle products. It is not yet possible to draw specific genetic conclusions on personalized nutritional recommendations. If you want to lose weight or live a healthier life with nutrigenetics, never blindly trust the results of genetic tests. Use the results as a guide to learn more about a specific food or diet, but don’t get bogged down in unscientific genetic analysis. The best way to lose weight and live a healthier life is through a balanced diet of fresh fruit and vegetables and sufficient physical activity.
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