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Health Team

DNA tests can help dieters

Posted March 12, 2010

Genes might hold the key to figuring out the best weight-loss diet for individuals, Stanford University researchers say.

"We're finally beginning to have proof that you can scientifically determine which diet is best for any given person," said Dr. Louis Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in the Weill Cornell Medical Center.

The study of 138 women found that a simple DNA test could predict whether a low-carbohydrate or a low-fat diet would work best.

DNA tests can help dieters DNA tests can help dieters

Researchers said that weight loss of 40 pounds or more could be connected to several genes that regulate how fat and carbohydrates are metabolized.

"They had a five times greater weight loss if they were assigned appropriately based on their genetic patterns," said Dr. Mindy Dopler Nelson, a postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford.

Another study found that 45 percent of white women have a low-carb genotype, while 39 percent have a low-fat genotype.

"A finding like this can help millions of people," Aronne said.

Researchers said that while a larger study is needed, a genetic diet prescription has the potential to help a nation facing an obesity epidemic.

Magician Kenny Brown said he struggled to shed pounds all his life but only found success after Aronne conducted a DNA test and recommended he follow a low-carb diet. The advice helped him get on a steady diet and lose 60 pounds, he said.

"You have to stick to your willpower," Brown said.

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  • readme Mar 17, 2010

    I'm pretty sure a low carb approach would be better for people no matter what their DNA says. I'm amazed at how we want to hang on to the same old diet myths despite decades of evidence and fatter Americans.

  • HappyGirl08 Mar 15, 2010

    Really, how can I sign up for this? I'd be willing to give that a try!

  • phillipsservices Mar 15, 2010

    Where can I get one of these tests?