If you’ve not heard about it before, you must have been living under a rock for the past few years.
DNA testing has arrived and it’s here to stay. From learning more about your ancestry to understanding how your body absorbs fat and carbs, DNA testing can help.
What are the benefits?
In this post we’re going to look at why taking a simple, at home DNA test could improve your health, fitness and lifestyle for the better.
I’ll be removing all the jargon and cutting straight to the bottom line of what it means for you, in practical terms.
Let’s get stuck in…
I wanted to start off with a topic that is close to the heart of many people and will help you understand why certain diets which exclude food groups don’t always work the same for everyone.
Fat & Carbohydrate Absorption
Based on your unique genetic makeup, your body may be more or less efficient at absorbing the carbohydrates and fats in foods.
For example, I might have a high sensitivity to carbs which means I am very efficient at absorbing them. You, on the other hand, might not be sensitive and poorly absorb them.
And that means…
If we both ate the exact same bowl of rice with 500 calories worth of carbs, I might absorb 90% of the calories whereas you might only absorb 50% of the calories.
I’m sure you can work out what that means...Just because you eat the same as someone else does not mean you will see the same results.
And the same is true for fats…
Our bodies also differ in how well we absorb fats. Some are more efficient than others, and are therefore able to extract more calories from fat.
The bottom line...
Understanding how efficient your body is at absorbing carbs and fats will help you decide which macro nutrient (fat or carbohydrate) to reduce if you want to lose weight more efficiently. If you’re sensitive to fat, eat less of it. If you’re sensitive to carbs, eat less of it.
Here’s a helpful video to explain that better. If you take just one piece of information from this post, let this be it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBobI-LEVA0
That’s what could be causing the difference in results you see when following the same low carb/low fat diet that works so well for other people but not you.
The low carb problem
If you are a highly fat sensitive person and you follow a low carb diet, it’s going to be a lot harder to lose weight.
If you are reducing your carbs, you will most likely be increasing your fat intake. Fat contains 9 calories per gram vs carbs which contain only 4 calories per gram.
So not only are you probably ramping up your calorie intake, you are going to be absorbing a high percentage of them. The opposite of what you want!
And the efficiency of absorption doesn’t stop at just carbs and fats. It’s true for vitamins, too.
Vitamin Absorption and RDAs
If you’ve ever read the back of a pack of food, you’ll see the nutritional information listed and there is usually an RDA column.
RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance and is an indicator of the amount of that vitamin you should get (or not exceed) each day.
The problem with RDAs…
Is that they are a one size fits all approach. There is no such thing as a one size fits all body. We are all unique and our genetic makeup is different.
As a result, we digest, absorb and process differing amounts of what we put into our bodies.
For example, some people are only 80% efficient at absorbing Vitamin B. If that’s you, you’d actually need a higher RDA of Vitamin B compared to those who are 100% efficient to hit the same level of daily Vitamin B intake.
If you’ve been having the lower amount for any period of time you could be Vitamin B deficient and could possibly have lower energy levels as a result.
Here’s the thing…
Without doing a DNA test, you are just not going to know how efficient you are at absorbing vitamins.
Now let’s take a look at the training side of DNA testing and how it can help you exercise more effectively for your body type.
Train to Your Unique Genetic Makeup
There isn’t one style of training that works for everyone. Whether that’s because you just don’t like it, or you have a natural tendency to favor one style over another.
For example, some people are faster at sprinting because they have more fast twitch muscle fibers while others are better at long distance running because they have more slow twitch fibers.
So, depending on your body, you may be more suited to one style of training over another.
What that means for you...
It means that your body will respond better to specific types of training, such as more explosive efforts like sprinting, boxing or power-lifting or perhaps it will prefer longer steady efforts, such as road cycling or 10 km running.
And that’s the beauty of DNA testing…
You get to find out more about your unique genetic makeup so you can make an informed decision about the best style of training to do in order to see the results you want to see.
Personalisation of Exercise and Nutrition
Armed with this information about how your body absorbs nutrients and responds to training, you can really tailor your exercise and nutrition regime to maximise your results.
Whether your goal is weight loss or muscle building, sports performance or optimal health, DNA testing gives you an insight into your body and how to ensure you’re moving and fueling it the right way.
And with home testing kits becoming so affordable, is there any reason why you wouldn’t get a DNA test done?
Robert Jackson of Minimal FiT is a personal trainer based in Canary Wharf, London. He works primarily with time-poor office workers who want to get back in shape, lose weight and build muscle.