Why Some Fad Diets May Work for Some

RALEIGH, N.C., July 31 (UPI) — U.S. researchers suggest a fad diet may work for some people because weight loss is achieved through a combination of genes and diet.

Researchers at North Carolina State University in Raleigh say their fruit fly studies show genetic interactions with diet are the source of metabolic variation. Diet alone makes a small contribution to the total variation, while genotype and genotype interactions with diet make very large contributions, the researchers say.


The study, published in Genetics, predicts an effective diet will be one tailored to an individual’s genes.

“Each person has a unique set of genetic and environmental factors contributing to his or her metabolic health,” lead investigator Laura Reed said in a statement. “We should stop looking for a panacea and start accepting that this is a complex problem that may have a different solution for each individual.”

Reed and colleagues measured several metabolic traits, including body weight in 146 different genetic lines of fruit flies as they were fed diets that were either nutritionally balanced, low calorie, high sugar or high fat. Some genetic lines were highly sensitive to diets — as reflected by changes in body weight — while flies of other lines showed little change in weight across diets.

The scientists say they ascertained what portion of metabolic variation was determined by genetics alone, by diet alone, or by the interaction between genotype and diet.

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