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How I learnt to eat after testing my DNA

Posted by: jo | Thursday 21st December 2017

How I learnt to eat after testing my DNA

JUST THREE WEEKS after scraping the inside of my cheek with a swab, bottling it up, and sending it back to a lab, I got back the most exciting report about diet, fitness, and general health I’ve ever read.

Having studied nutritional science and thrived at knowing I was at the forefront of the Health and Wellness industry, I took the DNA test so I could determine if my clients could benefit from this too. Studies were showing that people who dieted using recommendations based on their actual genetic makeup lost 33% more weight than those who didn’t. And yes, this was a big eye-opener to learn what my genes do and don’t say.

The most interesting findings?

Well, for me it has to be a low-carb diet all the way. Why? Because my DNA conclusively proves that I’m extremely sensitive to carbohydrate, so if I want to maintain my weight, I need to restrict refined carbs to just 6% a day. I’m also highly sensitive to saturated fat, so that has to stay at around 12% a day. But mono-unsaturated fat, like avocados and olive oil, my body could really utilise to make sure I didn’t gain excess weight.

Some good news: I’m not alcohol intolerant—which surprised me, as I’m a bit of a light-weight when it comes to alcohol. But it did confirm I was lactose and caffeine intolerant, explaining why just the smell of coffee brewing at 9am would see me running around like a head-less chicken all day.

Fitness wise, while my best exercise plan is “high intensity and short duration” (it’s uncanny how I’ve always gravitated toward this naturally), I’m also at “extremely high risk” of injuring myself when I work out—which could definitely be behind my recurring knee and ankle injuries.

Health-wise, it was really important to find out that I naturally don’t process vitamins folate and B12 properly and eating a diet high in these nutrients and supplementation would help in maintaining my energy levels.

Here, are a few essential things I found out

-Carbohydrate sensitivity is VERY HIGH. This means you’re more likely to put on weight if you eat lots of refined carbs. To lose weight you would need to restrict refined carbs to just 6% of your daily calories. This is incredibly important to know as Type 2 Diabetes runs in my family.

- Saturated fat sensitivity is MODERATE to HIGH. To lose weight you would need to restrict saturated fat to 12% of your daily calories

-This means to maintain weight I’d be better suited to a LOW CARB DIET

-My recommended exercise plan is HIGH INTENSITY and SHORT DURATION. This means I should aim for 30-45 mins of exercise 5 days a week with at least from high intensity exercise

-I am lactose and caffeine intolerant

-I have reduced ability to break down estrogen and need to actively manage hormone elimination, which considering I suffered badly from endometriosis and fibroids in my 20’s is a stark reminder how important it is that I follow a very healthy diet for the rest of my life

-I have a salt sensitivity and I need to be very conscious of my salt consumption to ensure my blood pressure remains in a healthy range.

-I have a reduced ability to store Vitamin D and therefore it is essential that through the winter months I supplement (or take lots of sunny holidays)

-My liver struggles to breakdown and detoxify smoked and chargrilled foods, a consequence could be increased carcinogens circulating my body. This is essential and means I am conscious to only eat smoked foods rarely.

 

Based on my results, nutrient recommendations would include:

Increase:

Folate, Vitamins B6 & B12

Antioxidants

Vitamin D

Calcium

Cruciferous

Omega-3

Fibre

 

Decrease:

Salt

Caffeine

Refined carbs/sugars

Grilled meats

I now know!

I'm incorporating all these changes and recommendations into my diet. FACT - DNA doesn’t lie—and I’ve probably be resisting some of this for a few years. I’m now much more intuitive to how foods make me feel and know that my body will struggle if I eat the wrong type of diet for too long. The odd day of carbohydrate biased foods might be ok, but over the long term I could become quite poorly.

How have clients fared?

What I have found very interesting is that, so far, more of my clients have actually come back as having to follow a lower saturated fat diet rather than a low carbohydrate diet to lose weight. It’s a commonly followed diet approach that if we cut carbs and exercise more then we’ll lose weight, well since introducing these tests with clients it’s been the reverse. By slightly increasing carbohydrate and reducing or changing the type of exercise they are doing weight loss speeds up dramatically, oh and clients have more energy, sleep better and feel much happier.

This is proof that there’s no one-size-fits-all diet or that cutting carbs is not always the answer. We are our DNA. 

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"Sometimes we forget how good our body can feel. Simply identifying a nutritional imbalance or deficiency can help you achieve optimal health and peak performance.

From private consultations and employee wellness, to brand positioning and cleanse programmes, I use the latest in evidence-based nutritional science to design bespoke diet and lifestyle programmes just for you." - Jo Wright Dip NT

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