It turns out, your body’s genes are the reason your blue jeans stayed too tight despite sticking to that hot new diet plan.
So go ahead and blame those pesky biomarkers for the reason why you didn’t lose weight on Atkins, but your best friend dropped 20 pounds. And while we know that heredity is what wreaks havoc on everything from your complexion to what diseases a person is at risk for, now scientists say that genetics is what influences how your body responds to different meal plans.
Researchers from Texas A&M University divided mice up into groups based on their genes, and tested how each responded to four diets: an American Western diet high in fat and sugar; a 1960s Japanese diet rich in fish, rice and green tea; a Mediterranean diet of produce, whole grains and a red wine mimic; or a high fat, low carb Atkin’s-like diet known as ketogenic.
They found each genetic group had different health responses to the different diets, which suggests that the genes make a bigger difference than the menu itself.
“There is an overgeneralization of health benefits or risks tied to certain diets,” said Dr. William Barrington, a geneticist who is presenting this report at the Allied Genetics Conference on Friday. “Our study showed that the impact of the diet is likely dependent on the genetic composition of the individual eating the diet, meaning that different individuals have different optimal diets.”
One man’s Atkins is another man’s Mediterranean, weight loss-wise.
But some diets still seemed healthier overall. The Mediterranean and Japanese diets did well for most of the mice. But every group gained weight and showed higher levels of cholesterol and fatty liver disease on the American diet, surprise surprise, although the severity of these side effects varied widely depending on the genetic group.
The Atkins-like ketogenic diet showed the most extreme results. While all of the mouse strains burned more calories without increasing activity level while going keto, half of them still packed on pounds because they ate so much on the diet. Seems mice can’t resist fatty, savory foods, either!
The researchers are now working on isolating which genes and biomechanics cause the different responses to diets.
“We’ve largely viewed diet the same way for the last 100 years — assuming that there is one optimal diet,” said Barrington. “Now that we’ve identified that this is likely not the case, I think that in the future we will be able to identify the genetic factors involved in the varying responses to diet and use those to predict diet response in humans.”
In other words, personalized weight loss plans tailored to your DNA.
Now that’s food for thought.