Health Team

DNA tests can help dieters

A simple DNA test can predict if a low-carbohydrate or a low-fat diet will work best for different people, Stanford University researchers say.
Posted 2010-03-12T21:49:39+00:00 - Updated 2010-03-12T23:26:59+00:00
DNA tests can help dieters

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.

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.