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Better Weight-loss Results Seen with Gene-based Diets

An experimental gene-based diet helped a group of slimming volunteers increase their weight loss by a third…. 

Tailoring nutrition to individual genetic profiles could truly change how we diet and improve people’s health, say the scientists who carried out the study.

Personalized diets were prepared for 87 obese individuals based on an analysis of 19 genes known to affect metabolism and taste. The diets were tweaked to take account of individual genetic make-ups. For example, people whose profile showed a less efficient ability to process fats were given less fat, while the number of calories remained unchanged.

After two years the volunteers had lost 33 percent more weight than a matched group of 104 participants whose diets were not adjusted to suit their genes.

Lead researcher Dr. Nicola Pirastu, from the University of Trieste in Italy, said: "Although there were no significant differences in age, sex and BMI between the two groups at the beginning of the trial, we found that people in the group who had followed the gene-based diet lost 33 percent more weight than the controls over two years, and the percentage of lean body mass also increased more in this group.

"By uncovering the genetic bases of taste and food preferences, we will be able to increase not only the effectiveness of nutritional interventions, but also compliance with them." "Our studies will be important for understanding the interaction between the environment, lifestyles, and the genome in determining health outcomes."

Practice Pearls:

  • Gene-based diet helped a group of slimming volunteers increase their weight loss by a third.
  • The percentage of lean body mass also increased more in the gene-based study group.

European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG