Nutrigenomics: The DNA Diet Approach

The DNA diet is a customized approach to health and diet, which offers specific recommendations for food based on the results of genetic testing. Foods encouraged or restricted are based on your unique biochemical makeup.

This personalized way of eating based on your genetic blueprint came from a government project called the Human Genome Project that identified nearly 25,000 genes in the human body. Testing an individual’s personal variations in the genes can provide answers to health issues, and small differences can influence how your body metabolizes food, utilizes nutrients and excretes damaging toxins. The point of this is that genetic makeup is the reason why one person can handle a diet rich in sugar, while that same diet will give another person hypoglycemia or even diabetes.

Laurent Bannock, the British nutritionist who laid out his philosophy in his 2006 book The Clinical Nutrition Desk Reference says, “Food is a pharmaceutical cocktail. You can find benefits in almost anything, but you have to look at the whole picture. Different [ethnic] groups evolved with certain foods and without others. There’s just no diet that works for everyone.” Bannock runs clients through a series of tests that include genetic biotyping, blood and urine analyses, and metabolic screening. He takes saliva samples to track hormonal patterns and has clients fill out a lengthy questionnaire. According to the results of all the testing, Bannock then creates a list of foods the client should and shouldn’t eat.

This bio-individual approach to diet may prove to be effective simply for offering a personal approach, however, research in this field has only just begun. Anyone interested in this diet may contact a nutritionist, doctor or other professional. Many biotech labs now offer do-it-yourself testing kits, which look at 19 genes, however, critics of the diet call it generic advice and that analyzing 19 of the 25,000 human genes can’t provide enough information to identify risk factors, much less specific foods you should eat.