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Genetics And Nutrition

Scientists are continually finding links between genetics and nutrition. Many of us have a gene called FTO that makes us more likely to be overweight. You can get a genetic test to tell which variant of the FTO gene you happen to have.

However, scientists who study the genetics of nutrition think it’s premature to base nutritional advice on your DNA. That FTO gene, for example, has only been shown to make a few pounds’ difference in body weight.

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Your results can be a gateway to healthier habits. The recommendations are harmless in the sense that they are recommendations that any dietician would make anyway.

Regardless of how personalized your diet advice gets, your recommended diet will not be drastically different from what we all know to be healthy: more vegetables, more exercise, etc.

The coded messages of your DNA are billions of letters (nucleotides) long. Personalized nutrition companies only care about a few of your DNA letters and can tell you which "variant" you have at each of those locations (known as SNPs) along your DNA strands.

We're all different. If we are all on the same weight-loss diet, there will be various outcomes. Some people will lose a lot, some will lose a little, and a few will even gain weight.

DNA testing companies can interpret the data from the same sample differently because they use different SNPs to come to their conclusions.

Although people buy genetic testing kits from companies to find out how to lose weight, the companies themselves acknowledge the limitations of the science and are careful to word their claims so that they don't outright promise weight loss.

With some genetic testing products, you can view your results on a particular screen on the app. There are 19 results in total, with five relating specifically to weight loss.

Genetics alone cannot explain why some people are fat and others thin. Other factors include what you do and what happens to you. What can be revealed with known genes is in the single digits.

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