One of the biggest arguments and feuds among diet experts today is which diet is healthier and promotes weight loss. The one size fits all diet does not seem to work for everyone and probably never will. Despite our efforts we are fatter than ever as a nation so perhaps there is something more that influences weight loss besides grueling hours at the gym, food deprivation, and willpower.

Is it possible that certain genes influence how we metabolize food, our appetite, the type of exercise we do, our body composition and what foods promote weight loss? Possibly….

Medicine is already using 1000 of genetic tests to treat 1000’s of health conditions.  They are prescribing medications based on gene testing.  So isn’t it a possible to use genetics to personalize diet, exercise and supplements?


A few of the genes that have variants associated with obesity are FTO, APO A5, and MCR4.  What that means is a percentage of people (in population studies) carry mutations or SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) that increase the susceptibility to certain traits.

FTO is associated with appetite regulation, increased ghrelin production, energy expenditure, energy intake, increase in BMI, and endocrine system. Type 2 diabetes Decrease fat to 30% or less, and decreased satiety. 1,2

APO A5 is associated with obesity and cardiovascular disease in people consuming a high fat diet. 3

MC4R is associated with regulation of metabolism, feeding behavior, and increased calorie absorption from fats. 5


Is gene science a key to unlock the mystery as to why one person is able to lose weight on a high fat diet like Paleo or the Atkins while another person isn’t able to lose weight or hits an early plateau?  It is quite possible and something to think about.

In my practice and even personally I have discovered that knowing genetics along with GI function is very helpful in creating a more personalized approach to designing a customized diet. I have the genetic mutations for FTO (fat genes) and HLA-DQ2 and DQ8 for celiac and gluten sensitivity.  By reducing the amounts of fats, eating more fibers, and eliminated wheat I was able to improve digestion and normalize weight fluctuations. Not to mention have MORE ENERGY.

The science of genomics, nutrigenomics, and epigenomics is just beginning however by using genetic data, a thorough patient history and appropriate functional testing we can create a more effective and personalized diet plan. .

As a side note: The gut microbiome is the richest source of genetic material in the entire body as well as the garden soil for all the organ systems.  We will see more in the very near future about how the living environment of the gut affects the path of health.






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