6 Types of Diets Your DNA Can Recommend You
If science and genetics have taught us anything, it’s that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diet recommendation. Everyone’s body has unique needs; by focusing on what our body tells us versus what the latest health article says, we can work towards better health.
One way to understand what your body needs is through a DNA test, such as the Pathway FiT. Looking at your nutritional needs, metabolic health factors and matching diet, a DNA test can reveal your genetic diet type, which vitamins you need to optimize, how your diet affects your cholesterol, if you’re sensitive to lactose and more.
By learning your personalized genetic nutrition profile, including the ratio of carbs, proteins and fats for your body, you can make more proactive decisions regarding your diet based on your DNA. Let’s look at a few of the diets your DNA may suggest based on your genetic nutrition profile.
A Balanced Diet
If you’re in good health and free from complications like high cholesterol and high blood pressure, a DNA test may suggest maintaining a balanced diet. A balanced diet means eating an array of food from each major food group, from proteins and carbohydrates to fruits and vegetables. Make the most of this diet by focusing on more nutrient-dense foods, such as colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, high-quality lean protein and healthy fats.
Even if you’re healthy, you should still avoid processed, highly refined foods, trans fats and added sugars. This means that while it’s okay to enjoy French fries once in a while, stick to less starchy and more nutritional vegetables. And when you crave a steak, choose grass-fed beef in a lean cut.
Low Carb Diet
A DNA test can reveal if you have a higher than average genetic likelihood for elevated blood sugar levels. For people who want to monitor their insulin and blood sugar levels (if they are prediabetic or diabetic), lower their risk for heart disease factors, fight metabolic syndrome and feel less sluggish, a low-carb diet may be recommended.
Sugar and carbs go hand in hand, as starchy foods like white bread and potatoes have higher glycemic levels than whole grains and more nutritious vegetables. For a low carb diet, the goal is to limit the amount of carbohydrates consumed and focus on non-starchy colorful vegetables, healthy fats and high-quality lean protein.
You can still enjoy some of your favorite foods on a low carb diet. If you crave a burger, make your own at home using grass-fed beef and swap the bun for butter lettuce leaves to make a wrap. And instead of white potatoes, try grilled zucchini or mushroom for your side of fries.
Low Fat Diet
Your cholesterol levels are another factor a DNA test will look at. This can reveal if you have a higher than average genetic likelihood for elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, decreased HDL (good) cholesterol levels or elevated triglyceride levels.
If you’re at risk for any of these, a DNA test may suggest a low fat diet. A low fat diet doesn’t eliminate all fats; just the unhealthy ones. Trans fats and saturated fats are unhealthy fats, which can increase harmful LDL cholesterol and increase your chances of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. But polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can do the opposite—decrease harmful cholesterol levels, build cell membranes and the covering of nerves and prevent heart disease.
Rather than eliminate fats entirely from your diet, focus on increasing your intake of healthy essential fats, such as eating more nuts, fish and avocados, while avoiding fried and greasy foods cooked with trans or saturated fats.
Depending on your cholesterol levels and other health factors, your DNA may suggest following the Mediterranean diet. A Mediterranean diet is essentially a high fat and low carb diet. It may help improve healthy cholesterol levels and keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range. Similar to a balanced diet, the Mediterranean diet can be beneficial to follow even if you’re healthy and not at risk for certain health conditions.
When following the Mediterranean diet, focus on eating a balance of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (from nuts, olive oil and avocados), high-quality seafood and low-fat dairy products. Avoid sugary and starchy foods, trans fats, added sugars and excessive red meat intake.
A DNA test can reveal if you have an increased genetic likelihood for lactose intolerance, which may explain uncomfortable side effects that you might experience from eating lactose. Lactose is the sugar found in milk. Based on your genetic makeup, your body may have trouble properly digesting it. As a result, you may experience bloating, cramps, stomach pain and other uncomfortable side effects.
If you’re at risk for lactose intolerance, consider replacing milk with lactose-free alternatives, such as almond milk or flax seed milk. You may also want to try going several weeks without eating dairy to see how you feel. If you notice an improvement, continue limiting or eliminating dairy and lactose from your diet.
Gluten sensitivity can cause more than an upset stomach. Symptoms can range from nausea and hives to difficulty breathing and malnutrition. Because of a wide range of potential symptoms, gluten sensitivity can be difficult for physicians to diagnose.
Your DNA can reveal if you’re genetically predisposed to one form of gluten sensitivity, celiac disease. For example, the Pathway Gluten Fit™ looks at five traits that help you and your physician determine if genetics play a role in your gluten sensitivity and what type of diet can best help you stay healthy. With your genetic analysis, you get personalized diet recommendations describing your diet type and gluten-free food options.
Through DNA testing, you can get to know your genes a little better and understand how they factor into your diet. With these insights, you can make more informed decisions to help you enjoy better health!