Eating the DNA way: Nutrition gets up close and personal
Dietary advice is not a one-size-fits-all operation. Meet the DNA Dietician who believes a highly personal approach to nutrition – down to a saliva test - is a lifetime investment in good health.
Guidelines for the masses and applying blanket rules to our diets? That’s not cutting it in 2021 as the nutritional tide is turning. We want bespoke advice based on our genetic make-up and, as a result, the personalised nutrition market is expected to quadruple in value by 2027. Here Rachel Clarkson, known as the DNA Dietician, explains why she advocates investing in a personalised health blueprint.
Nutrition that’s unique to you
Personalised nutrition, also known as nutrigenomics, describes dietary advice that’s based on a person’s individual requirements, rather than general nutritional advice that’s based on the average of a scientific study. Instead, we can take into consideration the outliers from the average that make you unique.
I specialise in identifying genetic variation in a patient's DNA that alters the way they respond to nutrients in food, such as how they absorb, metabolise, utilise and transport nutrients in the body. Some people don’t do this very well and are at risk of deficiencies that can lead to disease, or just poor energy and performance in the short term.
Discovering the perfect diet for weight loss and then maintenance is also a big part of my practice. People are sick and tired of the guesswork that goes into eating for health and body goals. My method of ‘eating the DNA way’ liberates people here and empowers them to find an eating pattern for life.
We can delve deeper into our health
You might need to cut down on coffee to prevent a heart attack or, in some cases, drink more to protect against one! Rachel Clarkson
Personalised nutrition can tell you what macronutrients you need to focus on for weight loss or to improve your body composition. It can identify food intolerances and sensitivities, bloating and digestive issues and even assess the effects caffeine and alcohol might have on anxiety.
We’re also able to look into nutrients that require even more tailored recommendations to prevent heart disease and diabetes, such as caffeine, salt, saturated fat and omega-3. You might need to cut down on coffee to prevent a heart attack or in some cases drink more to protect against one!
We can spot any vitamin deficiencies, which can be rectified through diet or a bespoke supplement regime. And we also assess a client’s risk of inflammatory and antioxidant capacity in the body as well as their predispositions for cholesterol and metabolic risk factors.
How does a DNA consultation work?
Every patient is different, but mostly someone books a free discovery call with me to discuss any health issues or concerns and I explain how I can best support them during this time. The number of video consultations a patient requires will depend on their goals – it could be two all the way up to 10 – and they’ll also be supported with a personalised meal plan based on their DNA.
My nutritional assessment might include blood tests that allow me to check the current nutrition and health status of a patient, and a saliva nutrigenomic test that helps me to personalise someone's diet. We’ve also just introduced a validated food frequency questionnaire that checks current dietary intake against a person's DNA guided requirements, but there may be more or less testing depending on the individual.
Find a healthcare professional for reliable results
Every man and his dog has a start-up promising consumers more than they can deliver Rachel Clarkson
The popularity of personalised nutrition is also its downfall. It’s an unregulated area, so every man and his dog has a start-up promising consumers more than they can deliver. We only have strong scientific testing for 70 genes, yet there are companies that offer hundreds – this poses a risk to the validity of their nutritional recommendations and whether or not they will work for the patient.
My advice is to seek out a registered dietitian with expertise in nutrigenomics to ensure that the advice you receive is based on a nutritional assessment that includes results from an FDA-approved test. Ideally, one through a reputable university.
The British Medical Journal recently published an independent study from The University of Toronto, that featured the same test I use in my clinic. It showed that people who received dietary advice from an expert healthcare professional, based on their DNA, were more motivated to change their diet long term. They also saw greater fat loss than those who received dietary advice based on general nutritional guidelines. It’s a breakthrough because I think motivation is a big factor when wanting to create lasting habits.
I think people are no longer satisfied with being told to eat five-a-day, less sugar and meat. They want to elevate their health with dietary and lifestyle recommendations that are tailored to their specific needs and will actually lead to their desired outcome.
If you do it right with a trusted professional this will be a once-in-a-lifetime investment in your health. Think of it as a blueprint or user manual for your body, guiding you to become full of life and your best self.
My 10-week program to kickstart eating the DNA way costs £489 and for four weeks, until 17th March 2021, it is discounted to £429 for Wellness Edit readers when quoting DNA60. (For two consultations, a DNA test and meal plan.)
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The views expressed on these pages are the views of the cited experts only and do not necessarily represent the views of Wellness Edit. Please always get a second opinion where specific medical advice is required.
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