We’ve all seen the commercials about finding your ancestry thanks to DNA testing, but now the idea that your DNA could help you lose weight or get fit is starting to ramp up.
This has been on my radar for quite some time and I’ve tested out a number of different things over the last few years. You might notice you haven’t heard about any of them from me…does that tell you what I thought about the results?
Does genetic testing for weight loss work? What is a DNA diet? Can your DNA determine the best workout for you? Because these are popping up, I want you to have the information to decide what’s worth your money!
A few key things to know before you do a DNA fitness test:
- Having an indicator for something does not mean you will get it or that it is 100% true for you.
- What is their goal for the test? I.e. ancestry, wellness or trying to tell you how to lose weight.
- Don’t use it to confirm your bias. “See I knew I was predisposed to weight gain, so why bother.”
- Don’t expect tips that are drastically different from what you already know.
$100 with shipping – only available via the Lose It! app.
This test kit was given to me free for testing and thank goodness because if I had spent $100 on it, I would have been disappointed. I saw someone on the Today Show saying it helped her lose 35lbs, but realistically what helped her was eating better, working out more and knowing that she was by logging it in the Lose It! app.
A few screenshots for you to see what’s included. A general overview of how foods could impact your weight loss… the majority of people are going to fall squarely where I did.
EAT BETTER FOODS, don’t fixate on carbs.
Here’s my issue with the iron piece – it’s ok to know I might be low, but am I and what should I do about it? This is where I believe Inside Tracker is a far superior options for athletes. You can see my detailed review, but it not only tests where you are, but gives you specific foods or ideas for fixing anything that is not optimal.
Final thoughts: I think my main issue is they are trying to extrapolate data to tell you exactly how to lose weight by prescribing macros or giving you some high level info and turning it in to a recommendation.
23andMe Wellness Review
$199 for both ancestry and wellness DNA results
This was a better bang for the buck because you can get a full picture of your health. I will say that if you are someone who is prone to worrying, I wouldn’t sign yourself up to find out if you have genes that could potentially lead to a disease because there are a LOT of other factors that go in to whether you’ll actually get the disease.
Over Christmas, I was sucked in by Black Friday marketing to buy the on sale genetic test and then quickly found myself paying more to include the health data.
When the results came back, I was surprised at some of the very random one’s like I am predisposed to having a unibrow…yes my high school self would agree. But also more detailed things about how likely it is that saturated fat would effect me or my potential for celiac disease.
Final thoughts: 23andMe is going to give you some high level health data to go with your ancestry. It’s not prescriptive, but can be good if you want to know about potential issues. You can also use their data inside other systems for more information.Are DNA tests a valuable for tailoring your workouts and food? A review of 3 services! #eatwell #fitness Click To Tweet
Fitness Genes Review
$199 includes training plan and nutrition recommendations
or upload your 23andMe results for $49
I actually did this one in 2015, when all this was super new and cutting edge. I couldn’t wait to find out exactly what workout style was going to finally get me those washboard abs. Eh hem.. you might note it’s 2019 and I don’t have them yet.
“DNA profiling in order to ascertain the best times for body builders and athletes to train and maximise their performance” this was the email pitch I initially received from them.
All right, that sounds pretty good… but I looked through everything and never could find a piece about when I should exercise. Instead, I got a pretty standard recommendation to do cardio and lift weights, along with a general calorie recommendation that would be problematic if used.
Final Thoughts: The one area I really do like here is the listing of all your genes and the ability to click on each to better understand the variations and how it impacts you. I.e. inflammation markers or appetite control per my FTO gene:
“People with one copy of the A allele have been shown to weigh, on average, about 1.5kg (3.3lb) more than those with no copies. This is likely due to changes in appetite, hunger and feelings of fullness (satiety) after meals. Carriers of the A allele have an increased appetite and are more likely to eat excessively (disinhibited eating).”
What would I recommend for DNA testing?
Honestly, at this point I’d say the data is interesting, but if you want actionable information to make you a better athlete right now, I’d go for Inside Tracker blood work and detailed analysis. GO checkout my post on how athletes can benefit from bloodwork.
DNA Health testing can be helpful, but when it comes to the prescribed workouts I’m still not sold on them telling you anything that’s going to drastically change what we all know works for losing body fat: strength + cardio.
And when it comes to a DNA diet, the science is still out. Perhaps there are benefits to eating more like the area of your ancestors, but most of these test (besides 23andme) aren’t giving you that kind of information.
Instead, they’re giving you pretty general food recommendations like eat more fiber, eat enough protein, avoid junk food… hmm sounds like every healthy diet on Earth.
Have you ever tried a DNA test for your fitness or nutrition?
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