There are very few people who do not want to lose weight. Overeating, eating the wrong things, and lack of exercise all contribute to being overweight. Overall, 70.7 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese, meaning that an unhealthy weight has become the norm. And one in six children and adolescents are obese in the U.S.
One contributing factor researchers have investigated is genetic makeup. As a result, several companies have begun providing tests designed to increase weight-loss success.
According to the Mayo Clinic, companies promoting genetic testing for weight loss focus on the role of genes in weight gain. Through their testing methods, companies can figure out what part of your genetic makeup is preventing you from losing weight. This includes your genotype, how your genes affect the level of leptin, if you are at risk of insulin resistance, if you are sensitive to carbohydrates or lactose intolerant, and more.
Every company has their own method of testing, as well as their own depth of research. From there, you can tailor your diet to your specific DNA strengths.
Does this type of testing really work?
The companies themselves guarantee positive results that can help you avoid ingredients that prevent you from losing weight. They can pinpoint areas of weakness in your DNA strand that can create roadblocks to a normal eat-less diet and exercise regime. And there are positive testimonials from customers who are very satisfied with the results.
Depending on how much information you want, the testing can run from between $100 and $800. A low-cost DNA test will likely give only the very basics. Their data is limited, yet might be just what you need to know. On the other hand, higher-priced DNA tests may produce a lot of extra information you are not interested in. It’s up to you to find a comfortable middle ground.
Carrie A. Zabel, a genetic counselor at the Mayo Clinic, points out that losing weight is much more complex than knowing about random gene variations. Before shelling out money for a genetic test, she recommends investing in nutritious foods and a gym membership. Other methods that can give you an edge when losing weight include working out with a fitness buddy and getting more sleep, which helps to regulate your appetite and metabolism.
Many believe that DNA weight-loss science is not yet at the point where you will get enough information to create the “perfect” diet for you based off your genes. There is still a lot of information to think about and test for, and some believe you can achieve the same results with diet and exercise.
As long as you know what a company is doing with your genetic information (that means read the privacy regulations), and you’re ready to face the sometimes-surprising results, it won’t hurt to give lifestyle DNA a try.