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A Cheek Swab to Choose Your Diet Plan?
Date:3/3/2010

DNA test may be able to tell which diet would work best for you, study suggests

WEDNESDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- Wondering if you'd do better to cut carbs or fats to lose weight? A DNA test using a cheek swab may reveal which approach would work best for you, new research suggests.

Researchers from Stanford University used data on a study from 2007 in which 138 overweight or obese women were assigned to one of four popular diets for a year. The diets included: the Atkins diet (very low carbohydrate), the Zone diet (low carbohydrate), the Ornish diet (very low fat) or a health professional's diet (a low-fat diet that generally follows the U.S Agriculture Department's Food Pyramid). The women also had the inside of their cheeks swabbed to collect a DNA sample.

Researchers used the genetic information to assign women to a "genotype-appropriate" diet, an eating plan that would seem to be the most effective for them given their particular genetic makeup.

Women assigned to the correct diet based on their genotype lost two to three times more weight at 12 months than those who were assigned to a diet that was inappropriate. When the researchers looked at only the most extreme diets (Atkins versus Ornish), the results were even more stark. Women assigned to their correct diet for their genotype lost five times as much weight as those on the incorrect diet, the study found.

The women on the correct diets also showed improvements in their "good" (HDL) cholesterol and decreases in harmful triglycerides.

"The weight loss differences between the various diets were not that dramatic, but the weight loss difference within a particular diet was," said lead study author Mindy Dopler Nelson, a Stanford postdoctoral research fellow. "On each diet, there were a lot who lost weight, there were a lot who didn't lose weight and there were even some that gained weight. By looking at the genetics we were able to
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