Dieting is often an endless cycle of losing weight and gaining it all back. Thousands of diets exist, but how do you know which one is best for you? The answer may lie in your DNA.
The idea of the DNA diet is rooted in the scientifically proven reality that dieting simply doesn't work for many people. According to studies, 95% of people will gain back the weight they lose within a few years, and 41% of those who attempt dieting will eventually gain back more weight than they lost.
A now famous study conducted at Stanford University looked at the long-term effects of weight loss using a few different diets assigned at random. Results showed that some participants lost weight on one type of diet, such as low-fat, while others did not. The study then tested participants' DNA for 3 specific gene variations and found that those using the best diet for their DNA lost as much as 2 1/2 times more weight than those not using their best DNA diet.
"This genetic testing is a brand new field, nutrigenomics, the link between genes and nutrition," says David Katz, MD, nutrition expert and founder of the Yale Prevention Center. "It makes sense because our genes control hormone levels, enzyme levels - all the basic levels of metabolism. And how we metabolize food determines what happens to the nutrients and calories we take in."
While DNA testing is available and relatively affordable, you don't necessarily have to take a DNA test to determine your best diet. "There are numerous signs," says Keri Glassman, a registered dietician. "Physical measures -- the things you see in the mirror, clinical measures -- simple tests you get at a yearly check-up, and also symptomatic measures, ways you're feeling physically or emotionally."