Research is looking into the connection between DNA and diet in the field of nutrigenomics. Nutrigenomics is the study of food and its interaction with specific genes that increases the risk of developing common chronic diseases.
A study performed in 2007 collected DNA samples from a group of 138 overweight or obese women, and assigned the women to different eating plans based on what would seem to be most effective for their genetic makeup. The eating plans consisted of the Atkins diet (very low carbohydrate), the Zone diet (low carbohydrate), the Ornish diet (very low fat), or a health professional’s diet (low fat diet based off of the Food Guide Pyramid). The women followed their assigned eating pattern for a year.
The results showed that the different diets did not contribute dramatically to the amount of weight lost. However, there was a dramatic difference in the amount of weight lost within each diet type. For example, each diet resulted in some women who lost weight, some women who did not lose weight, and some women who gained weight. This concluded that the response was more directly tied to the individual woman’s response to the diet than to the actual diet.
Dr. Robert Eckel, who is a former president of the American Heart Association and a professor of medicine at University of Colorado School of Medicine, concludes that the study results are in the beginning stages. Therefore, the results would need to be confirmed by larger studies before he would advise that a diet be determined by DNA.