Can DNA testing help you lose weight?

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.

weight loss

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.

dietitian melbourne





Do you have a healthy relationship with food? – take our free quiz to find out

Want to learn how to nourish your body without dieting or restricting food?
Learn about intuitive eating with our ebook Nourish.

Click the banner to grab your copy today!

non-diet dietitians Melbourne

Energy & sports drinks – are they really necessary?

I heard a report on ABC radio that soft drink consumption in America is declining (for both regular and diet) and that intake of energy drinks is increasing. But do we really need them?

The pros and cons of using energy and/or sports drinks.


1. If you are doing intense exercise for more than 90 minutes, sports drinks aid hydration and provide some carbohydrate to help replenish your energy stores.

2. You can buy sports drinks in powder form and make them up to be more dilute reducing the carbohydrate and calorie content. Cyclists often do this for long rides. Again, it’s only necessary when you’re exercising for more than 90 minutes.

3. I don’t believe there are any pros to consuming energy drinks, but happy to take comments.


1. Sports drinks contains a decent amount of food energy, if your body doesn’t need this energy, why not just drink water?

2. Sports drinks are expensive, especially when water is probably all you need.

3. Both sports and energy drinks contain a fair amount of sugar which most of us just don’t need.

4. Perhaps you want the caffeine in the energy drink? You can achieve the same amount of caffeine in a cup of instant coffee which is much cheaper and calorie free. A short black/espresso will give you even more caffeine.

The photo below shows the sugar content of these drinks.

energy drinks

Milk. To drink or not to drink?

The pros and cons of milk and other dairy products.milk, a healthy drink

1. Milk is an excellent source of many vital nutrients including; Calcium (strong bones & teeth, muscle function), Phosphorus (strong bones &teeth, energy release), Potassium (healthy muscles, nerves, blood pressure), Magnesium (muscle function, energy transfer) and of course protein!

2. Inclusion of dairy food has been shown to assist with weight control in a number of studies.

3. Research has also shown the saturated fat content of dairy is not associated with an increase heart disease risk.

4. Plain milk is a much healthier alternative to water than soft drinks or fruit juice. Water should still be the first choice when thirsty!

5. Milk and/or yoghurt works well with breakfast cereals or muesli. While many cereals are dubious health wise, most mueslis and high fibre cereals are healthy and a good source of many nutrients and dietary fibre.

6. Milk works really well with coffee and tea. Rice, almond and oat milk do not work so well.

7. There are skim, low fat and full fat versions to suit different needs.

8. Use of butter, cheese and yoghurt can increase the palatability, and therefore intake, of many healthy foods like vegetables.

9. Even full fat versions can be included in a healthy diet. Depending on the rest of your diet, if you prefer full fat dairy products, you can enjoy them (in moderation of course) without worrying about weight gain or heart disease.

10. You would not be as tall as you are today without the increase of dairy foods in the human diet.

1. Environmental sustainability needs to be considered. This is a complex issue and out of my scope of practice, much has been written on the issue if you choose to look into it.

2. Many people see ice-cream and flavoured milk as good dairy sources. While flavoured milk still has many of the benefits of plain milk, ice-cream does not. Flavoured milk contains added sugar and therefore contains more energy which has implications for weight control. The added sugar does not add any health benefit either. Stick to plain milk.

3. Some people are allergic or intolerant to cows milk protein and some people intolerant to the milk sugar lactose. However there are alternatives such as A2 milk and lactose free milk.

I am wracking my brain, but actually can’t think of any more… I may have missed something and am happy for you add your comments.

So in summary, for most people, milk and other dairy foods serve to enhance the nutrition and palatability of a healthy diet.

Please click on the Facebook icon and hit the like button on my page for more great food information.

The pros and cons of “going Paleo”

Man chasing modern steakPros:

1. You will significantly reduce your intake of many less healthy processed food.
2. You will start eating more vegetables.
3. You will significantly reduce your intake of sugary processed foods.
4. You’ll significantly reduce your alcohol intake.
5. If you’re dedicated and happy to forgo many of the wonderful foods the modern world has made possible, you can achieve healthy eating and weight control.


1. It’s almost impossible to follow a true Paleo diet. Hunter gatherer’s ate only wild game, not domesticated beef, lamb or chicken. Modern vegetables are very different to how they were 1000s of years ago and nuts didn’t come ready to eat in packets.
2. You need to be ultra organised to prepare all your own food from scratch. Most healthy convenient snacks are out.
3. You need to really know what you are doing to ensure you get enough calcium from non-dairy sources.
4. If you have a history of yoyo dieting or disordered eating, going Paleo has the potential to make matters worse. I have seen this occur with a number of my clients.
5. It can be confusing as there are many different versions. One of my clients said she could eat sweet potato and 70% dark chocolate (not sure this was around 1000s years ago), while another said absolutely no carbs or sugar.

But perhaps the biggest reason against Paleo?

7 billion people cannot follow a Paleo diet, it is simply NOT environmentally sustainable. Agriculture and the reliance on grains such as rice, corn, wheat is what has allowed so many people to live on this planet. Some may argue we have too many people, but does this stop them having their own children? And we can’t change the fact we already have 7 billion people. 

So think about it. How would the many millions in China and India survive without rice as their staple? How would the many millions in Africa and South America survive without corn as a staple?

While a Paleo diet may be a healthier way of eating for some people, it is not healthy for our planet. However we choose to eat, we need to consider whether or not it is ethical and whether or not it is environmentally sustainable.

A final important point to make is that while eating Paleo may have a number of pros and works well for some people, it is very possible to do all these things in the context of your “normal” diet (a dietitian can show you how).

Nearly all diets advocate less processed food (especially sugary foods), more vegetables and less alcohol. Therefore, given it’s impossible to eat as hunter gatherers did, is the Paleo diet just another fad diet rebranded?

Please hit the Facebook icon and like my page for daily posts like this.