DNA Diets - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

DNA Diets

Sick of cookie-cutter diets that never seem to work quite right? New kits are hitting the market that promise to deliver a plan so custom, it'll break your perfect weight loss program down to a science - Literally.

From Atkins to Weight Watchers, law student Ariel Leichter Maroko said dieting had been a case of trial and error. "I'd stop losing weight and then I would get discouraged and I'd stop the diet."

Ariel put down his lawbooks and turned to science to solve his diet dilemma. "I have lost about four inches from my waist."

Ariel credits the hot new DNA Diet for his success. Creator Carolyn Katzin said "one-size-fits-all" diets are 'out'! Food plans based on your DNA are 'in.'  "We can tailor your particular diet to focus on foods that would be complimentary to that particular genetic variation."  What's behind these customized diets? A whole new field called nutritional genetics, which explores how DNA and food interact.

Ariel was told his genes prove carb control is his best weight loss weapon. "My body would react to the insulin that's released a lot worse than some other people." he said.

A whole new industry is emerging-online companies and clinics selling d-n-a testing kits that promise to give you personalized plans for losing weight and staving off chronic diseases. "We test for 19 different genes." said Howard Coleman of Genelex. "These genes are involved with heart, health, vitamin usage and insulin resistance."

These do-it-yourself kits range from about $200 to more than $400. They come with a lifestyle questionnaire, swabs to collect cells from the inside of your cheek, and a return envelope for mailing the sample to the lab. Two or three weeks later, you get a report.

"Genetics is an extremely complex and, to many people, confusing topic." said Dr. Jonathan Zonana of the American College of Medical Genetics. He said we're just beginning to unravel the relationship between genes and food. Dr. Zonana fears these diet companies are taking limited research out of context. "Many of these kits or panels that are being marketed really don't have scientific validation in terms of their even being useful or effective."

The National Cancer Institute agrees, calling the testing kits premature. But DNA Diet proponents say they can back up their claims. "This is based on the mainstream of scientific research." said Howard Coleman.

The National Cancer Institute, other federal agencies and several universities are currently conducting research on nutritional genetics. Their goal is to one day, use what they learn to create personalized diets to help fend off obesity and disease.

One other note: nutritionist and DNA Diet creator Carolyn Katzin says she has her clients use the kits under her care, so that she can help them intepret the DNA Diet results and come up with the best individualized plan.

Here's how you can get in touch with the experts in this piece:

Carolyn Katzin MS, CNS, Nutritionist and DNA Diet creator

2001 Santa Monica Blvd. 10th floor

Santa Monica, CA 90404

Dr. Mike Watson, American College of Medical Genetics

9650 Rockville Pike

Bethesda, MD 20814

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