Diet Trends: What to try and what to skip

May 20, 2018
With so many diets to choose from, how can you tell which one will work for you?
At the start of each year U.S. News & World Report releases a ranking of the best diets. For the first time, the Mediterranean Diet has ranked Best Diet Overall, tying for the No. 1 spot with the DASH Diet. To calculate the rankings, U.S. News convened an expert panel of top nutritionists, dietary consultants and physicians specializing in diabetes, heart health and weight loss. Through an in-depth survey, each panelist scored the leading 40 diets in nine categories, including ease of compliance, likelihood of losing significant weight in the short and long term, and effectiveness against cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Expert panelist Dr. David Katz candidly states: “no single diet is the best for all of us” and “ultimately, a ‘best’ diet is one that can be adopted, managed and sustained over time.” Vitagene shares that philosophy. For an individual to achieve their optimal weight and improve their health for the long haul they need to not only answer “What is the right diet for me?” but more importantly “What are the behavioral changes I need to make to achieve my weight and health goals?” Knowing your personal genetics can help you answer these important questions.

What does your DNA say about your diet?

Studies show that 50% of body weight is determined by our food and activity habits and the other 50% by genetics(1). We also know that eating behaviors can have as much effect on our health as our diet. Some of our behaviors are learned over time and some are influenced by our genetics(2). Your DNA informs weight management and body composition and provides insights into your metabolism, tendency to regain weight after losing it and eating behaviors such as snacking and stress eating. Because we all have different genes and DNA makeup, what works best for each of us will be distinct. Testing your genes can give you insight to your nutritional needs and answer questions, such as:

 

  1. How well does your body process caffeine or alcohol?
  2. Do you have a sensitivity to gluten or lactose?
  3. What is the optimal ratio of calories from carbs, fat and proteins for you?
  4. Is your body genetically predisposed to lower concentrations of certain vitamins?

Take Action

The best way to eat right for your DNA is to take a simple DNA test. If you have not taken a DNA test yet, these diet recommendations may be helpful in controlling your susceptibility to disease as well as your overall health:

  1. Eat breakfast and don’t skip meals.
  2. Eat fat and protein with every meal to control blood sugar and the release of insulin.
  3. Reduce simple carbohydrates as well as added sugars in the diet, including excess fruit consumption.
  4. Consume the majority of your vegetable intake from non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, leafy greens etc.). Avoid starchy vegetables (potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips, turnips etc.).
  5. Practice mindfulness when eating. Mindfulness helps people recognize the difference between emotional and physical hunger and satiety, and introduces a “moment of choice” between the urge and eating.

Our bodies and genes work only as well as the fuel we give them. Whether your goal is weight loss, increased energy, addressing specific chronic symptoms such as diabetes or just to feel your best, the answer may lie in your DNA. While you cannot change your genetics, you can use the information it provides to make smart lifestyle choices to achieve your health goals — for the long haul.

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