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Diet Success May Be Genetic


Diet Success May be Genetic

A few years ago the book, Eat Right for Your (Blood) Type, was published by Dr. Peter D’Adamo with the premise that our present day nutritional needs are dependent on the types of food available to our genetic ancestors. For example, if your ancient ancestors evolved in a region of the world where protein was plentiful, then your body now requires a protein rich diet to stay healthy. According to the author your blood “type” is the clue to determining your nutritional heritage and your ideal diet type. I was never convinced of the usefulness of this blood type theory but agree that genetics strongly influences the way an individual stores fat and what constitutes their optimal nutritional requirements.

Along these lines recent research points to a connection between success with various weight loss diets and genetic differences between individuals. This was the conclusion of a study known as the A to Z Weight Loss Study. This study compared the results of 300 women who followed one of four possible diets ranging from those low in carbs (Adkins diet) to those low in fats (Ornish diet) to those high in protein (Zone diet). The women were then screened for genetic differences in specific genes that control fat metabolism.

Found was that some participants needed low carbs to lose weight while others required a diet low in fat to achieve weight loss. Analysis of the fat metabolizing genes showed that a specific favorable genetic profile was associated with up to a 6 fold increase in the amount of weight loss achieved with a particular diet. A participant was much more likely to lose weight if they were on the diet that harmonized with their particular genetic type.

How can you tell in advance if you are a carb sensitive or a fat sensitive dieter? For those with access to these experimental genetic tests (conducted by Interleukin Genetics) you could conceivable get the information you need. For the rest of us, starting with one type of diet and switching to the other type if weight loss isn’t achieved seems like a common sense approach.

Gary Pepper, M.D.
Editor-in-Chief, Metabolism.com

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