DNA Diet is a nutrigenetics test that reports on gene variants which influence weight management and responsiveness to weight loss interventions.
The DNA Diet test is designed to assist the healthcare practitioner in providing personalised dietary and lifestyle advice for optimal weight management outcomes based on an individual’s unique genotype.
DNA Diet reports on what diet type may be best suited to an individual for weight management, be it a low carbohydrate diet, the Mediterranean diet, or the low-fat diet. The test also gives recommendations for the amount of exercise required, measured in MET hours, for optimal weight management outcomes.
DNA Diet provides insight into key diet and lifestyle factors that influence weight management:
- Obesity risk
- Responsiveness to carbohydrate intake and sweet food cravings
- Responsiveness to the type and amount of fat intake – saturated fat, mono-unsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat
- Response to exercise
- Eating behaviour – satiety and snacking
- Circadian rhythms
The DNA Diet test does not provide a list of foods that a person should and should not eat and cannot infer food allergies. It does not provide a meal plan with food items and portion sizes.
Please note that the test itself is not a weight loss plan but rather a tool that you, as the healthcare provider, will use to create a personalised plan by using information from the report together with the goals and background information of your client.
When To Use it?
DNA Diet provides gene-based dietary guidelines to individuals with a goal to lose weight. It also can provide an understanding of why previous weight management programmes may have been unsuccessful.
The test is appropriate and useful for individuals in the following scenarios:
- Goal of weight loss or maintenance
- History of weight loss resistance
- Desire to optimize diet for weight management
- To understand diet and exercise responsiveness
- Improve macronutrient distribution based on genes with insight to which diet type (e.g. Mediterranean style, low carbohydrate, low fat diet) is best suited
- Insight into genetic influence on eating behaviour (snacking, satiety)
- Understand possible links with sleep management and weight
The DNA diet report can be summarised into 4 main sections:
- Diet type recommendation
- Exercise requirements
- Weight management priorities
- Individual gene results
We will look into each section in more detail.
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Diet Type Recommendation
Low Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low Fat
The DNA Diet report will recommend one of three diet types; the low carbohydrate diet, the Mediterranean style diet, or the low-fat diet.
The diet type that is recommended in the report is determined using a results-based genotype scoring system and algorithm.
The diet type recommendation is presented in the ‘Summary of your personalised weight management plan’ section at the beginning of the report. Specific principles pertaining to the diet type are described later in the report.
Learn more about diet type applications
The DNA Diet report guides a person on how they respond to exercise and how to optimise their exercise to promote weight loss.
In the ‘Summary of your personalised weight management plan’ section, an exercise recommendation is given. This indicates the recommended amount and intensity of exercise for optimal weight management, which is given in MET hours per week.
What Is A MET?
MET stands for Metabolic Equivalent Task. MET is the objective measure of the ratio of the rate at which a person expends energy, relative to the mass of that person, while performing some specific physical activity compared to a reference, set by convention at 3.5 mL of oxygen per kilogram per minute, which is roughly equivalent to the energy expended when sitting quietly.
METs are a way to measure how much energy you burn up during any chosen physical activity. Every activity, from watching TV to going for a run, has a MET value. The more vigorous the activity, the higher the MET value.
What Are MET HOURS?
The DNA Diet report recommends MET HOURS and not just METs. METs are a way to measure the intensity of a particular activity however, MET HOURS allow one to calculate how many hours of the chosen activities must be achieved in a week for optimal weight management outcomes.
Calculating MET HOURS
- Using the table of activities in the report, which are divided into light, moderate and high intensity , find the activity that ismost similar to what your clientcurrently does or would like to start doing. Note that in the tables, the column on the left describes the activity, and the column on the right shows the METs of that activity if done for 1 full hour (60 minutes).
2. Use this equation to calculate the MET HOURS for each activity.
MET Value X Duration (in hours) = MET HOURS score
For example: if a person plays singles tennis for 1 hour and 40 minutes that is equivalent to 1.60 hours. Tennis on the activity tables is 8 METs for 1 hour. Therefore 8 METS X 1.60 hours = 13 MET HOURS.
- To calculate a person’s weekly MET HOURS score, add the MET HOURS score of each workout for that week.
For example, If you played singles tennis for 1 hour and 40 minutes (8 METs x 1.6 hours = 13 MET hours), ran for 30 minutes (0.5 hours) at a pace of 8 km/hour (8 METs x 0.5 hours = 4 MET hours) and played 2 hours of golf (4.5 METs x 2 hours = 9 MET hours), then your weekly MET HOURS score will be 26. (13 + 4 + 9). See how this compares to the MET HOURS recommendations in your report.
Interpreting Exercise Plan Recommendations
The DNA Diet report will recommend a minimum of either 15, 20, 24 or 30 MET HOURS a week based on an individual’s genetic responsiveness to exercise for optimal weight management outcomes. The exercise intensity ratings, based on priority of exercise in weight management outcomes, will be described as low intensity, moderate intensity, high intensity, and very high intensity exercise, respectively.
You can use this information to develop a weekly exercise program for your client based on their MET HOUR recommendations and the tables of exercises given as a guide in the report.
Please note that exercise plan recommendations are based on exercise responsiveness for weight loss. If a patient needs more exercise for health benefits or performance goals then the exercise programme should be adjusted accordingly.
Weight Management Priorities
The priority outcome graphs give an indication of the significance of each diet and lifestyle variable related to weight management according to an individual’s genotype results. These priority scales will guide you, the healthcare practitioner, as to which factors need the most attention and should be highlighted and discussed with your client.
Each priority area will have an interpretation that will guide you, the practitioner, in your recommendation for your client.
Weight management priorities make it easier to interpret the combination of SNPs together as several SNPs influence multiple aspects of weight management.
For further information on the interpretation of the priority outcomes please view DNA Diet webinars.
Watch Webinars on DNA Diet
The genotype results table in the report shows the genes and gene variants that are being tested, grouped according to major area of activity, as well as the genotype result for each SNP and the coresponding impact factors. Focus on variations with a moderate or high impact result, as these will have the most significant effect on environmental factors and weight management responsiveness.
An explanation of each of the genes tested in DNA Diet are given in the report to guide practitioners.
Summarise Report Recommendations
After discussing the full DNA Diet report, summarise key recommendations for the person. Select a few recommendations that a person could start with.