Monday, January 12, 2009

Can Nutrigenetic Diets Help Overweight Individuals Lose Weight?

When an individual becomes overweight or obese, he or she becomes a likely candidate for many medical disorders including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure (or hypertension). Therefore, he or she will always be advised to trim the weight by appropriate weight management program.

A finding, which appeared at the online journal BioMed Central: Nutrition Journal in November 2007, indicated that overweight individuals might lose weight and keep it off through personalized diets, based on an individual’s genetic makeup. The researchers also found that people on nutrigenetically tailored diets were more likely to stick to the diet, which means they had greater success in the long term.

Cheek cells were used to screen DNA for 24 variations in 19 genes known to affect nutrient metabolism. The researchers then compared the case histories of 50 individuals who were on nutrigenetic diets with those of 43 patients who did not receive a nutrigenetically tailored diet.

The patients participated in the study were attending a weight loss clinic in Athens, Greece. All of them followed a traditional weight management program that involved a Mediterranean diet, together with exercise and regular follow-up clinic visits. Nevertheless, the researchers modify the diet of the nutrigenetic group based on the genetic results of each individual in the group.

During the first few months, there was no difference was noticed in weight loss between the 2 groups. After about one year, however, the traditional diet group showed a slight average weight gain while the group on nutrigenetic diet continued to lose weight. 300 days later, individuals in the group on nutrigenetic diet were about 5-times more likely to have maintained their weight loss than that in the traditional diet group. Improvement in blood sugar levels was also noted in those in the nutrigenetic diet group.

The researchers believe that by adding a genetic, personalized component to a weight loss program may actually improve motivation and compliance. Meanwhile, the personalized diet might well optimize the content of macro- and micro-nutrients for the individual during a period when overall food consumption is reduced and energy expenditure is increased.

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