The one-size-fits-all approach to
nutritional counselling includes basic advice to eat more whole grains
and cut back on sodium. While this guidance is certainly appropriate,
it doesn't take into account that these universal nutrition
recommendations are not equally useful for every person.
All of that is about to change. With the official launch tomorrow at the
Dietitians of Canada Conference in Toronto, dietitians now have access
to a genetic test kit from Nutrigenomix, a University of Toronto
spin-off biotechnology company spearheaded by Dr. Ahmed El-Sohemy,
Canada Research Chair in Nutrigenomics and an Associate Professor in
the Department of Nutritional Sciences at U of T.
The simple Nutrigenomix test requires only a saliva sample and reveals
how a person's unique genetic code determines their body's response to
seven components of their diet. Based on the results, a dietitian can
guide the client to eat more - or less—of certain foods in order to
decrease their risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood
pressure, obesity and related health conditions.
Nutrigenomix genetic test kits were developed exclusively for registered
dietitians, since they are the most knowledgeable practitioners to
deliver reliable nutrition advice. The test will finally allow
dietitians to provide personalized nutritional information based on
their client's DNA and is not like any other genetic test kit on the
In addition to the official launch of Nutrigenomix, Dr. El-Sohemy is
also speaking at the conference on his research, which found that
people are more highly motivated to adopt healthy dietary habits when
given specific information based on their genes, rather than when given
general population-based advice. The results were just published in the
journal Genes and Nutrition.
"In a randomized control trial involving 149 men and women between the
ages of 20-35 years, participants were put into an intervention or
control group and were given either DNA-based personalized dietary
advice or general dietary advice" explains El-Sohemy. "We discovered
that individuals found the dietary recommendations based on genetics
more understandable and more useful than general dietary advice."