Can DNA testing help you lose weight?

23rd August, 2018

After seeing the findings and advice from one lab, you’re more likely to end up heavier.

Can personalised genetics or DNA testing in relation to how you eat be useful? One of my clients was curious to know, so she went online and completed the application.

My clients assessment was in relation to body size and shape, body weight, ability to lose weight and how the body handles fat and the impact this has on lipid profile. The claim is that your genetic profile can give you information on these factors and how to eat to best manage them.

I’m not going to comment on how accurate the findings are, as I simply don’t know. What I would like to comment on, is the advice given to my client… and there is so much wrong with this advice it’s hard to know where to start.

She was advised (suggested with the help of a health professional) to reduce total calories per day by a substantial amount – similar to what is recommended by most diets or weight loss programs – and to exercise for at least 30 minutes most days.

Aside from the advice being the exact same stock standard generally unhelpful advice you can find anywhere, there was no consideration of;

  1. What my client was currently eating or doing exercise wise. Had my client already been restricting, such advice could be highly nutritionally compromising, or heading toward an eating disorder.
  2. How many times my client had tried this before and lost weight and then regained.
  3. My clients current weight now being at its heaviest after 15 years of trying to do exactly what they suggested.
  4. Previous calorie restriction resulting in over-eating and and an increased desire to eat sugary food. Something we have been working on for almost 2 years now and which my client is seeing improvements with.
  5. My clients psychological health after 15 years of struggling with dieting and weight, which when she first came to see me had left her with a very damaged relationship with food and body.
  6. What my client might already be doing to address her health and where she is at with this, and the impact that their advice might have on her progress.
    Quite frankly, I’m stunned and appalled. This DNA testing is simply dieting repackaged without any serious consideration for the person’s lived experience or psychological status.

My advice – don’t waste your time or money.