Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Friday 23 July |
Saint of the Day: St. Bridget of Sweden
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

Genetic testing: The nutrition trend that may change the way you eat forever

Prepping Lunch

Shutterstock

Calah Alexander - published on 10/04/17

DNA-based diet and exercise programs are the new trend in preventing disease and achieving optimal health.

A few months ago, my parents took cheek swabs and sent them in for APO E gene genetic testing. Not to learn about their ancestry or something, though — to discover which type of diet and exercise is best for their genetic blueprints.

I thought it sounded a little wacky, but the results were fascinating. More importantly, my parents started feeling so much better after following the diet and exercise plans that were tailored to their genes.


Minimal Dining Table

Read more:
When self-improvement becomes unhealthy

As it turns out, customized diet programs based on DNA results are becoming a trend. Neo.life recently featured an article about a few companies on the cutting edge of the genotype-diet revolution and the scientists who back them.

Peter Jones, a professor at the University of Manitoba, estimates there are dozens of companies worldwide offering bespoke nutritional advice based on customers’ genes, microbiomes, or other factors. Scientists in the field are “getting in line to participate with these companies,” he says , himself included. Jones founded a company called SNPitty, still in its early stages. (The simple genetic variations that these companies usually test for are called single-nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs, pronounced “snips.”)

This science is exciting but still in its infancy. While the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics acknowledges that it holds promise, they also urge caution in depending on it for routine dietetics and disease prevention, noting that life-threatening health conditions arise from a variety of genetic and environmental causes.

But the idea that our genes can tell us how to eat makes sense. After all, traditional cultures based their diets on the foods that were available to them, and over the centuries they evolved to process those foods more effectively. The last 200 years of industrialization can’t erase millenia of biological evolution, so our genes should be able to tell us what kinds of food are best suited for us.




Read more:
3 Ways to help kids eat healthy foods

And honestly, the mind-boggling array of highly specific diets and the enthusiasm of their adherents is evidence enough that some diets work better for some people than others. My sister-in-law, one of the healthiest people I know, feels better when she eats lots of vegetables and grains. She doesn’t do well with a meat-heavy diet. I, on the other hand, get dreadful indigestion and feel lousy when I eat lots of grains. Protein, vegetables, and fruits are the holy triad of foods that make me healthy and happy.

We figured this out through years of trial and error of course, not genetic sequencing. But I bet a DNA-based diet could have saved me from years of choking down granola and oatmeal with a Zantac chaser in an attempt to “eat healthy.” It’s not that granola and oatmeal are unhealthy foods, but they are unhealthy for me.

If nothing else, genetic sequencing can give us a better picture of the diseases we are at risk for and a chance to head them off at the pass, regardless of whether or not we stick to the rigorous diet recommendations. Having advance warning that you’re predisposed to type 2 diabetes or Alzheimer’s might just be the inspiration you need to swear off sugar and avoid those diseases entirely — and that’s definitely worth the price tag and finger prick.


Woman Holding Stomach

Read more:
How to introduce healthy bacteria to your diet — without necessarily eating it

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
HEADACHE
Kathleen N. Hattrup
2 Bible verses when you’re weary down to the soul
2
nightbirde
Cerith Gardiner
8 Powerful quotes from Nightbirde that will fill you with hope
3
FRAY JUNIPERO SERRA
John Burger
Alumni sue after this Catholic saint’s name was removed fro...
4
CARDINAL
J-P Mauro
Italian police dressed as priests nab scammers disguised as cardi...
5
WEB2-Benjamin_West_-_Joshua_passing_the_River_Jordan_with_the_Ark_of_the_Covenant_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg
Daniel Esparza
Who are the cherubim in the Bible?
6
Blessed Carlo Acutis
J-P Mauro
The Diocese of Brooklyn acquires first-class relic of Bl. Carlo A...
7
ŁACINA
Philip Kosloski
Why is Latin the official language of the Church, instead of Aram...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.