Best DNA Tests for Weight Loss
DNA testing can provide you with a wealth of information about your health, but it can also help you discover the best way to lose weight. At YourDNA, we’ve got the latest information on fitness and nutrition tests so you can make the decision on which one is right for you.
A Guide to DNA Tests for Weight Loss
If you’ve struggled with weight loss, tried every diet and workout you come across with little or no results, you might be surprised to find that your struggles may be partially related to your DNA makeup.
While our bodies are approximately 99.99 percent the same when it comes to DNA, there are still several million different factors that make us unique, especially when it comes to nutrition, weight and health.
Genetic testing can identify the variations that pre-determine whether your body is prone to storing extra weight, and if it’s due to food sensitivities or trouble processing specific vitamins which can, in turn, affect how your body’s metabolism works.
Some even tell you if you’re predisposed to a high BMI. Each report is like a road map to how your body functions and getting your DNA tested can help you create a viable plan for moving forward in your weight loss journey.
General Fitness and Nutrition DNA Tests
There are a few different fitness and nutrition DNA tests on the market that you can try from companies like embodyDNA, ORIG3N, Arivale and HomeDNA to name just a few.
Each of these brands offers varying levels of information that correlates to your nutrition and health through DNA insight. They also vary in price, with most tests ranging from $50 to $120, though some can cost as much as $500.
You can even have your DNA tested by a doctor or nutritionist if you’re not looking for an at-home solution.
How a DNA Test for Weight Loss Works
To get started with a weight loss DNA test, you’ll provide either a saliva sample or a buccal swab (from the inside of your cheek), and mail it back to the company in a pre-addressed envelope.
Once they get your sample, lab technicians process it, looking for a combination of gene variants that may identify food sensitivities such as lactose or gluten.
They can also identify areas where your body struggles, like in processing carbs or fats. This helps the end user develop a diet that’s right for their body, according to what their DNA reveals.
How Does Your DNA Relate to Weight Loss?
Your DNA relates to weight loss in many ways, but what really makes the difference are the variations that exist in your unique profile.
When it comes to weight loss, your genes specifically define which foods your body can tolerate and which ones you should avoid to prevent health issues such as those brought on by obesity.
What Will You Learn From a DNA Weight Loss Test?
When your DNA weight loss test is completed, you’ll receive a detailed report about the findings.
These results come in a readout that identifies problem areas including but not limited to cholesterol, insulin, fat and protein. Depending on the exact test you take, the results you get will vary. You might get insight into some or all of the following:
FTO Gene Variants
Located on chromosome 16, the FTO gene is believed to contribute to the risk of obesity as well as the complications that come along with that. Studies have shown that variants may be linked to pancreatic cancer, fatty liver disease and precursors to colon cancer.
This gene, along with several others including TCF7L2 and BDNF to name a few, is also thought to define how resistant your body is to losing weight and ultimately keeping it off.
How Your Body Processes Certain Nutrients
Do you love carbohydrates? It turns out that your body may not love them back. The IRS1 gene relates to the way carbohydrates affect a person’s body, but more specifically related to insulin sensitivity and production.
If you cannot absorb blood sugar, it can lead to an increased production of insulin and cause insulin resistance which may lead to diabetes.
Fat sensitivity is a real thing and there are several genes associated with your body’s reaction to consuming high amounts of fat. The genotype of specific genes including APOAS and CRY2 determine how much a person is able to lose if they alter the amount of fat in their diet.
How Your Body Reacts to Different Exercises
When you work out, it’s always important to include a variety of exercises, rather than focus on a single routine to avoid plateauing. But did you know that your genes actually react to different types of exercise better than others?
For example, your genetic makeup may be predisposed to losing weight faster and more permanently with more cardio, while others might benefit more from strength training.
Customized Nutrition Plans
One thing that many of the weight loss DNA tests offer is an insight into how your nutrition should look. Maybe your genes say that a high-protein, low-fat diet is best. Or, perhaps a diet high in carbohydrates is better suited for you.
Benefits of Taking a DNA Test for Fitness and Health
There are a number of benefits to taking a DNA test for fitness and health. The first is that you can get a clear insight into which type of diet is best for you to help you either melt off the pounds or to keep your figure.
You also get great insight into how your gene variants affect your overall nutrition and weight, and you get to learn about the foods you should avoid in order to keep from gaining the pounds. Many tests often come with a healthy individualized diet that works well with your DNA or even added one-on-one coaching with a certified nutritionist for no added cost.
Are You Predisposed to a High BMI?
If you’ve always put weight on easily and struggled to get it off, that might mean that you’re predisposed to a high BMI thanks to your genetics. The FTO gene carries information about how resistant your body is to losing weight as well as whether you’re likely to have a higher BMI.
What Factors Promote Weight Gain?
There are different factors that can affect your weight. Because we’re all different, only your DNA can tell you which foods to avoid in order to prevent it.
For example, some people are affected by carbohydrates while others gain weight when they eat too much saturated fat. Some intolerances are responsible for the way food is digested, which can lead to poor breakdown and added weight gain.
However, it’s important to realize that while your genetics are a large part of the overall picture of weight gain, it’s not the only factor. Outside factors including stress, your environment and your sleeping habits contribute to your overall weight as well.
What Genes Are Analyzed With a DNA Test for Weight Loss?
There are several hundred, perhaps thousands of genes associated with how your body processes food, sensitivities, nutrients and how it reacts to specific types of exercise.
However, it’s not possible to identify all of these gene variants, so the most common ones are what the DNA tests on the market focus on.
The most common gene is the FTO gene, which as previously mentioned, dictates how your body resists weight gain. In addition to this, the TCF7L2 gene is related to blood sugar absorption along with the IRS1 gene. Others related to exercise include ADRB2 and LPL.
For a list of the specific genes and variants that each company tests for, it’s best to visit their website for thorough information.
DNA Test for Weight Loss Accuracy
Like any other DNA test, there is always the wonder of just how accurate the results you receive are.
It’s important to note that these tests are not meant as a diagnostic tool, but rather informational in nature, so no medical decisions should be based solely off the results you get.
Can DNA Tests for Weight Loss Be Wrong?
Just like other laboratory tests, there is always the potential for your DNA results to be inaccurate. Sometimes it occurs due to the contamination of a sample or a mix-up in laboratory samples, both obvious examples of human error.
Other times the sample is improperly analyzed or gene variants are missed in the analysis. Use it as an informational tool rather than a be-all, end-all guide to your body and weight loss.
Can a DNA Test Really Help You Lose Weight?
The test itself is not going to help you lose the weight, but the results it provides very well may. It’s all in the information you receive and how you decide to put it to use.
Since the results analyze a wide variety of gene variants, you’re likely going to learn new information that can help you make educated decisions about how you eat and work out going forward.
Analyzing Your DNA Test Results
When you get your DNA test results, depending on the company you chose, you’ll receive a detailed report that analyzes your genes, variants and proteins, as well as any mutations you might have inherited.
These are all broken down into easy-to-understand terms that you can use to make the appropriate lifestyle changes.
How Long Does it Take To Get Results From a DNA Test for Weight Loss?
The results typically take a few weeks to process, but you can reasonably expect to hear back within 4 to 6 weeks from the time your sample is received. Some companies offer the weight loss test as an add-on to your ancestry package and therefore, can offer results in as little as 48 hours after you order.
This is only for those who have an active DNA sample on file already. No further samples are required in this instance.
What Information Is Included in Your DNA Test Report?
You’ll get a glimpse into food sensitivities, such as whether you’re glucose or lactose intolerant, as well as any deficiencies that you’re prone to. In addition, if your test contains a fitness component, you’ll get insight as to which types of exercise your body responds to better, as well as tips to implement those exercises in your workout routine.
Finding the Best Diet for Your DNA
One of the main reasons people decide to take the DNA test for weight loss is to find the best diet for their biological makeup.
What is a DNA Diet?
A DNA diet is one that is custom tailored to your genetic predispositions. For example, if your analysis shows a sensitivity to carbohydrates, your DNA diet will not include many of them.
It eliminates problem foods that could lead to weight gain and includes healthy foods that will help to boost your metabolism and help with vitamin absorption.
How Do You Use Your Genetic Data for Weight Loss?
Your genetic data helps create a customized DNA diet that purposely avoids the foods that could lead to weight gain. If you follow it as outlined, in theory, you should be able to speed up your weight loss with proper diet and fitness.
Where to Buy a DNA Test for Weight Loss
The best place to buy a DNA test for weight loss, currently, is online through various retailers.
You can find them for sale on the company’s website, or sometimes through third-party sellers such as Amazon and Helix.
Are There At-Home DNA Test Kits for Weight Loss?
Yes, there are direct-to-consumer kits that are mailed to your home where you can collect the sample on your time frame. The test kits are shipped to you right away and arrive in a matter of days.
There are also test kits available and some retailers like CVS and Walgreens. With these, you typically pay for the kit in the store and then pay a separate processing fee directly to the lab company.
Can Your Doctor Test Your DNA for Weight Loss?
Your doctor can order or prescribe a DNA test for weight loss, most definitely. However, this is not something that you can do at home. You cannot bring a sample to your doctor to evaluate.
Instead, you will be sent to a lab, whether onsite at the physician’s office or offsite at a reputable company, where your saliva or buccal swab will be collected.
The results can take a few days to a few weeks to arrive depending on how busy the lab is. Your doctor will go over these results with you once they receive the report.
How Much Are DNA Tests for Weight Loss?
DNA tests for weight loss vary widely depending on the company you choose. They can be as low as $49 or as high as several hundreds of dollars if you have it done through your doctor.
Will You Ever Need to Be Re-Tested?
Chances are, as you age your genes may change or develop mutations that would result in a difference when it comes to your DNA report.
For this reason, taking another DNA test in a few years can’t hurt. Is it necessary, however? The answer is no.
If you get your results and the information in the detailed report works for you, then there is no need for you to do the testing again.
However, if you find that other DNA test results have changed, such as those involving health risks, it might be worth the money to see if changes have occurred in the genes and variants related to nutrition and weight. It’s also not uncommon to have a food intolerance that disappears over the years, and this may cause a change to your guided eating plan.
How to Determine if DNA Testing for Weight Loss is Right For You
Making the decision to undergo DNA testing for any reason is a personal choice that you have to make, especially with one that deals with sensitive information such as weight loss.
If you’ve struggled with weight for a good portion of your life, finding out which foods you’re sensitive or intolerant to can make all the difference in the world. The process can be beneficial in that it can help you finally eat right with a healthy individualized diet plan that you might never have come up with on your own.
Taking the test can also open the doors to discovering more about your body and how it works than you ever thought possible.
Best DNA Tests for Weight Loss
If you’re interested in taking a DNA test for weight loss, you might be overwhelmed at the sheer number of tests on the market.
We’ve dialed it down to a few of the top options to help you compare the features and prices for each, which are current as of January 2019.
The test from embodyDNA works to give you a total overview of your macronutrients, suggested foods to create a diet with, genetic reports that identify how well your body processes the food you eat, as well as how fitness works for you. The report will include a list of 21 genetic traits.
All of the results of embodyDNA’s test are backed with scientific facts that are easily broken down and explained so you can understand what the different factors and genotypes mean. You can order it on the company’s website for $89.99.
ORIG3N offers two different tests that fall into the weight loss category: nutrition and fitness. Each individual test costs $149.
The nutrition test analyzes your DNA to profile your nutrition by several factors including what your body easily metabolizes, your hunger and weight predisposition, and its ability to absorb vitamins.
The fitness test gives you insight into which types of workouts will yield the best results, what your genes say about your muscle and joint strength, as well as how quickly your muscles will recover after any period of exercise.
Beat Your Genes: Nutrition and Diet Coaching by Arivale
Beat Your Genes by Arivale is a comprehensive test that evaluates factors such as caffeine tolerance, food sensitivities and which foods you’re predisposed to having cravings for. Technicians analyze up to 372 variants with this test to identify if you’re at an increased or decreased risk for a higher BMI.
When it comes to exercising, using information from your genes and variants, the test will report whether you’re more susceptible to gaining weight at low-activity levels.
Additionally, you can sign up for added coaching from qualified professionals to get more custom advice based on your results. The cost of this test is $59.99.
Healthy Weight DNA Insight
Healthy Weight DNA Insight takes a health screening a little bit further by including nutrigenetics in its evaluations along with medication response and the risk factor of common conditions and diseases.
The website lists several variants that it looks for including those that indicate vitamin deficiencies, decreased or increased risk of your two cholesterol levels and triglycerides. If you’ve ever been curious about what your biology says about your eating behaviors, you’ll find it here.
Additionally, it analyzes several factors attributed to your weight and diet, including metabolism, obesity and your propensity for regaining lost weight. The test costs $300.
The DNAFit Test from Helix DNA bundles diet and fitness into a single package that costs approximately $120. Not only does it identify food sensitivities, but it also determines if you need more antioxidants or omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.
If you’re curious about which style of exercise is better for your body, this test will reveal it, breaking it down into high- or low-intensity recommendations and will even outline your risk of muscular injury.
The report will outline best practices for recovery as well as the types of exercises that will reap the most benefit.
Important Note: Be aware that these tests are not available in New York and Maryland, due to stringent state restrictions, and some tests may not be available in all states.
Taking a DNA test for weight loss is quickly becoming the trend as more people want to be aware of the biological factors that affect their overall nutrition and diet.
Scientists are still researching the many genes, variants and mutations associated with weight loss, so while the results you get may not be 100 percent accurate, they can provide a good insight to your body’s biological makeup and help you finally shed those pesky pounds.