Linking Our Genes to Our Diets: 23andMe to Study 100,000 People

DNA kits are exploding, and this company wants to know more about linking genes to diet.

January 3, 2018

Did you notice this year that DNA kits for ancestry were a popular Christmas gift in 2017? There are also now other kits that offer genetic health profiles and carrier status. And there are kits that offer personalized diet and fitness plans based on your DNA results, but there has been criticism from the medical community about the value of these tests.  

23andMe is one of those companies that now has collected DNA data for about two million customers searching for answers about ancestry and health. However, according to them, even though they can tell you whether or not you’re predisposed to weight issues, they don’t have enough information yet to make the call on how to use this genetic information. They say there aren’t any studies with a significant enough number of patients to connect diet to genes.

And that’s why to kick off the New Year, the company is asking for 100,000 of their customers to volunteer to participate in a study with the objective of linking DNA to the food we eat and the way we exercise. All participants will have to stick to a diet and exercise plan for three months and report the differences in their weight. Diet plans will be randomly assigned. One low carb diet, one high fiber, low animal fat diet, and one plan that says to eat as usual. 

While DNA kits have been around for a little while, they seem to be experiencing higher than ever interest from consumers. And with the 2017 March on Science that started in Washington DC and was hosted in over 600 locations around the globe, and more scientists getting involved with public policy, it’s safe to say that science is “in”. 

In our 2018 Top Ten Retail Food Trends, Phil Lempert discussed the rise in neuro-nutrition and biohacking, and included DNA kits as a hot trend as people look more to science for answers on how to solve the health and diet crisis in our country as well as look for ways to live longer and more youthfully.  

23andMe’s study could provide groundbreaking information linking our genes to our diets. Get ready dietitians and food makers, because you may looking at a whole new area of education when it comes to guiding and providing foods for people eating for genetics.

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