The study was to be presented Wednesday at the American Heart Association's Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism Conference 2010, in San Francisco.
The DNA test, made by Interleukin Genetics in Waltham, Mass., sells for $149. It works by honing in on certain genes that play a role in the way people metabolize food, said Lew Bender, CEO of Interleukin Genetics.
From among hundreds of genes believed to be involved with obesity, researchers from Interleukin Genetics identified three genes that had been implicated in multiple clinical studies to play a role in weight management. The genes include fatty acid binding protein 2, peroxisome proliferator- activated receptor gamma, and beta 2 adrenergic receptor, Bender said.
"We went through a rigorous scientific process to find those that were the most validated and the most functional, and these were the three," he said.
In those genes, a so-called single nucleotide polymorphism -- or a variation of a DNA sequence within a gene fragment -- causes the gene to produce a form of protein that changes the way it functions. In the case of fatty acid binding protein 2, for example, the polymorphism leads to the production of a protein that can cause a greater absorption of fat, Bender said.
"If you look at someone who has a polymorphism that causes them to absorb more fat, combined with another polymorphism that causes them to not burn fat well, they would be more prone to obesity from diets that are high in fat," he said. "In those cases, we would recommend they go on a low-fat diet."
Dr. Robert Eckel, past president of the American Heart Association and a professor of medicine at University of Colorado School of Medicine, said the study results were very preliminary and had to be confirmed by larger studies before he would recommend that anyone have their diet genotyped.
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