There are a slew of DNA diets on the market, all claiming to aid weight loss by understanding our genetic make-up. Launching this month is the What IF Plan, the first of its kind to couple DNA testing with Intermittent Fasting.
For those in the dark, Intermittent Fasting (IF) is the umbrella term for time-restricted, Whole Day or Alternate Day Fasting. Time-restricted fasting is a schedule of eating that focuses on when you eat, rather than the what (the DNA tests take care of that part), fasting from anywhere between 14-16 (even up to 20) hours, reducing the time frame in which you eat your meals. Alternate Day Fasting (or ADF) and Whole Day Fasting refer to the calorie-restricted kinds, heavily reducing your calorie intake to keep your body in a fasted state.
Here's everything you need to know:
Can our DNA tell us how to diet and exercise?
Created by genetic nutritionist Kate Llewellyn-Waters MSc who works with clients worldwide, The What IF Plan is a unique, bespoke programme that aims to help you achieve your weight- and fat-loss goals safely. Having spent the last few years researching the proven scientific versions of Intermittent Fasting (i.e. time-restricted) and Alternate-Day Fasting (calorie-restricted) and using her vast background of nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics, this is the first personalised IF plan based on an individuals unique genetic results.
According to Llewellyn-Waters, such personalised tests are the future as they complement an individual's unique genetic profile. Potentially, this may enhance the overall health of the individual and additionally, at population level, help to prevent conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancer.
The theory is that essentially, by extending your overnight fast your body is forced to burn stored fat for energy. Our bodies spend so much time digesting that they can end up getting less time to spend on other important housework. Being in a fasted state maximises our health potential. On top of that, IF helps you achieve the physique you want and maintain it effortlessly, without feeling restricted. Any hunger pangs quickly subside as the hunger hormone, ghrelin, realigns, stored fat gets burned (it takes about eight hours for your body to break down glycogen stores and then switch to using stored fat as fuel) and energy levels rise. Specific genes, such as SIRT3, responsible for cell protection and repair, also switch on. In the long term, it is said to be cancer protective; lowers cholesterol; reduces inflammation, free-radical damage and insulin resistance; boosts cognitive function and longevity.
Knowing the foods that your body is actually meant to be eating, specific for its own individual needs coupled with the best times to eat could be the key to unlocking its potential. After all, not everyone is meant to be Paleo, vegan, HCLF (High Carb/Low Fat) or Keto (high fat and zero carbs). And as our genes are fixed at conception, if you carry the gene for obesity or caffeine sensitivity, for example, you always will but through the right lifestyle choices you can switch those genes on or off.
And if youre trying to shift unwanted pounds, the type of exercise you opt for is also crucial. Certain genotypes have to slog it out with high-intensity workouts to break down body fat, while others (smiling smugly) require only low to moderate intensity and get the bulk of their weight loss from a good diet. Wouldnt it be great to know biologically what works for you before applying a scatter-gun approach to health and fitness, so youre working with your body rather than against it?
A DNA-test kit is sent to you in the post, consisting of an easy-to-follow saliva swab, which you post back to them. Three weeks later you receive a detailed report, listing your key genes for weight management, your response to each and then the best diet and exercise plan (mainly resistance training). A comprehensive individual list of foods is included, as well as some recipes to get you started. All three phases focus on the foods you need individually while being aware of any genetic sensitivities (to carbs, fats, lactose etc) and eating behaviour.
The best diet type for you; your sensitivity to carbs and saturated fat, detoxification ability, anti-oxidant requirement, vitamin and micronutrient uptake (such as Vitamin D3 and B vitamins), salt, alcohol and caffeine sensitivity, lactose intolerance, gluten sensitivity; eating behaviour (are you a snacker and/or a sugar junkie?); and your bodys response to exercise.
There are three phases to the plan, each lasting a week, with the third phase being the long-term, lifestyle part. Ideally, you are meant to repeat phases one to three until youve achieved your goal weight. For those not looking to lose anything, you jump straight into Phase 3
Phase 1: the 16-hour fast each day (no breakfast)
How it works: eating within an eight-hour window, finishing your last meal at 7 or 8pm each night and beginning your first meal the following day at 11 or midday, depending on the time you finished. You are essentially just delaying your first meal of the day by four hours, which is an easy transition for most people.
Symptoms to expect: possible headaches for the first few days, hunger pangs and irregular bowel movements while your body rejigs its natural rhythm. Combat this by drinking copious amounts of water and warm herbal tea.
Easy to stick to? Surprisingly yes, your body quickly adapts and two meals a day is plenty. You feel a lot less hungry than expected.
Phase 2: Alternate-day fasting (ADF)
How it works: three days of the week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday is easiest), reduce your daily calorie intake to 500-700, nothing more. You can break this down into two or three frugal meals or fast most of the day, saving the calories for one larger meal in the evening.
Symptoms to expect: initially, total confusion over what to actually eat and a possible knock-on obsession with counting calories. It helps to do a little planning, choosing the foods youll eat in advance so you can just get on with it. You might experience less energy on the low-cal days. Experiment a little with each ADF day (with the number of meals; whether you feel energised exercising in a fasted state or depleted etc) until you find a rhythm that works best for you. On the non-ADF days you are allowed to eat breakfast as normal, as youll most likely wake up starving, but some like to continue with the 16-hour fasting.
Easy to stick to? Not as enjoyable or effortless as Phase 1, perhaps, but a good reminder that nothing bad will happen if you experience hunger every so often. Also, finishing a meal with space left in your stomach is actually a good thing and preferable to eating until youre jean-popping full. This is the only phase that can feel restrictive and it may take a while to figure out the best way to structure everything - but fortunately its just a week.
Phase 3: Easy phase
How it works: here things become much easier. Simply stick to the foods from your allocated list; if you like you can go back to having breakfast (three meals a day) or stick to the 16-hour fasting window, which admittedly can quickly become a lifestyle choice. Leave four hours between meals (there is a snack option if needed). You can go off-piste and have a treat meal once a week but if so, eat protein first, cut out starch and fruit with the other two meals that day and try to keep everything else very simple in terms of sauces, dressings and snacks.
Symptoms to expect: nothing to fear here, youre pretty much in a groove by this point. The biggest decision is whether to continue IF each day, or decide that you miss breakfast too much. You have more space to enjoy cooking your way through some of the personalised recipes, spending more time getting to know the right foods for you genetically.
Easy to stick to? Yes. And your social life picks up again, too, although if youre continuing with the 16-hour fasting window then you need to be mindful of your 8pm curfew (and that includes alcohol).
The 16:8 intermittent fasting is very easy to do and is something you may want to continue with every day, or at least Monday to Friday with a bit of freedom on the weekend. Forgoing breakfast frees up so much space in the day, not to mention the way it aids mental clarity - not having to think about food is a nice break from guilt and obsessing. Energy levels increase and stubborn weight, especially around the middle, quickly whittles down. The second phase requires a touch more effort but its just a few days and is less of a hassle (and less depressing) with each attempt.
Getting your DNA tested is definitely worth it for the concrete personalised results, solely for you, and not a broad brush stroke for the majority. Youll no longer have to be swayed by one health fad after another because youll know exactly what your own body needs to function at its best. Keto diet? Not if youre highly sensitive to fats. Bulletproof coffee all morning? Steer clear if youre a slow metaboliser of fat, as well as caffeine. Having the knowledge and tools to make informed decisions about whats best for your body, and living a longer, healthier life in the process - isnt that the ultimate goal for us all?
The What IF Plan, including the 31 SNP DNA test, client report and DNA results, food list and recipes costs 299. For more information visit: thewhatifplan.co.uk
- Denver's 13th Avenue will see a bike lane replace one travel lane typically used for cars - Denverite - July 30th, 2020
- The lowdown on the low-FODMAP diet - Harvard Health Blog - Harvard Health - July 30th, 2020
- The Great Escape: Travelers Turn To Summer Road Trips During COVID-19 - Here And Now - July 30th, 2020
- Affects of Food on Mood: Good food is reciprocal to bad mood - Asian Image - July 30th, 2020
- Elephant Tourism Is Way More Complex Than You'd Imagine: The Thailand Example - Fodor's Travel - July 30th, 2020
- The Safest, Easiest Way to Get Started With Intermittent Fasting, According to the Latest Research - Inc. - July 26th, 2020
- Russell Wilson Has Already Embraced the NFL's Idea That JJ Watt Hates - Sportscasting - July 26th, 2020
- Sleeping in the heat - Sherwood Park News - July 25th, 2020
- Five Great Ways To Repurpose Parking Lots During the Pandemic - Streetsblog New York - July 25th, 2020
- Important to know difference in types of COVID-19 tests - The Robesonian - July 25th, 2020
- Heading back to the gym? Five ways to avoid injury when returning this weekend - Daily Star - July 25th, 2020
- For the birds: Once regionally extinct, loons are making a modest comeback in southeastern New England, with scientists help - The Providence Journal - July 25th, 2020
- What is the OMAD diet and is it safe? - BEAUTYcrew - July 24th, 2020
- 6 Fruits That Are Safe To Consume For People With Diabetes - MissMalini - July 24th, 2020
- How to stay safe as gyms reopen this weekend - Metro.co.uk - July 24th, 2020
- Harmful foods that you can eat in moderation every day - The Saxon - July 24th, 2020
- UK-based in-depth study of early COVID-19 detection - Lab News - July 24th, 2020
- Heroes of the pandemic Save the Children Australia - Save The Children Australia - July 24th, 2020
- Colin Montgomerie, 57, shows off incredible body transformation as he loses 40lbs with diet and pilates - Brinkwire - July 24th, 2020
- How to know if you should take statins to lower your cholesterol and whether they are safe and effective - Business Insider Australia - July 24th, 2020
- University of Cambridge researchers and Huma begin in-depth study of early detection of COVID-19 infection - Yahoo Finance - July 24th, 2020
- Voices: COVID-19 and the concern of chronic disease in the church - Baptist Standard - July 7th, 2020
- #10 Tips to Stay Healthy During the Self-isolation Days of Covid19 - Entrepreneur - July 7th, 2020
- Coronavirus Update: Poll finds 81% of Canadians think Canada-U.S. border should stay closed - The Globe and Mail - July 7th, 2020
- Meat Industry Overfeeds Antibiotics to Cows, and We Get Sicker - The Beet - July 7th, 2020
- Two major cities are getting another grocery delivery option in the pandemic - Yahoo Lifestyle - July 7th, 2020
- HOW TO LIVE IN THE FACE OF FEAR - Manila Bulletin - July 6th, 2020
- Simple and Fastic Apps: Why Do I Keep Seeing Intermittent Fasting Ads on Social Media? - VICE UK - July 6th, 2020
- Eating healthy with Yanaya - The Zimbabwe Daily - July 6th, 2020
- Can You Eat Raw Broccoli? Benefits and Downsides - Healthline - July 4th, 2020
- Fish: Which Ones To Eat & Which Ones To Avoid During Pregnancy - BabyGaga - July 4th, 2020
- Fireworks Can Trigger PTSD. Heres How to Be Considerate While Celebrating July 4th at Home - EcoWatch - July 4th, 2020
- Eating healthy with Yanaya - The Herald - July 4th, 2020
- Why You Should Bet Against Joey Chestnut In The Hot Dog Eating Contest - PlayUSA - July 4th, 2020
- Coronavirus Update: Confirmed cases in 40 states on the rise in the U.S. ahead of Fourth of July weekend - The Globe and Mail - July 4th, 2020
- Top Reasons Why Spinach Is One Of The Healthiest Leafy Greens - Doctor NDTV - July 3rd, 2020
- Intermittent Fasting Part 1: How It Helps You Lose Weight and What are the Different Ways to Do It - News18 - July 3rd, 2020
- Six small things we're looking forward to on Super Saturday - Telegraph.co.uk - July 3rd, 2020
- Stop worrying about bread, nutritionists say the toppings you put on your carbs are more likely to influence - Business Insider India - July 1st, 2020
- The COVID-19 threat is here for the foreseeable future. As cities reopen, protecting passengers on public tran - Business Insider India - July 1st, 2020
- Integrity is everything - The Bookseller - July 1st, 2020
- Wellbeing Wednesdays Podcast: What are the Social Determinants of Health? - The Daily Athenaeum - thedaonline - July 1st, 2020
- This July is Bound to Be a Wiener - The Auto Channel - July 1st, 2020
- Kindness of others inspires woman to lose nine stone in just two years - Mirror Online - July 1st, 2020
- Apple cider vinegar may help with weight loss here's what the research says - Business Insider India - July 1st, 2020
- Weight loss: Woman shrunk from a size 16 to a size 12 in lockdown following this easy diet - Express - June 30th, 2020
- 12 Tips For Fasting Diets - How To Do Intermittent Fasting ... - June 30th, 2020
- What's Chlorella? 10 Health Benefits, How to Use It & More - Greatist - June 30th, 2020
- Fans stunned by UFC legend Frankie Edgars body transformation as he shows off ripped physique with just 1 - talkSPORT.com - June 30th, 2020
- 5 precautions you should take when waxing your pubic hair, according to the doctor behind 'The Vagina Bible' - Business Insider India - June 30th, 2020
- Are you getting enough protein and fibre? - Australian Hospital + Healthcare Bulletin - June 30th, 2020
- Coronavirus Update: Air Canada cutting 30 domestic routes and closing operations at eight regional airports - The Globe and Mail - June 30th, 2020
- Nutrition for eye health - Washington Daily News - thewashingtondailynews.com - June 30th, 2020
- 'Our Time of Personal Responsibility': In Today's Media Availability, Public Health Officer Talks About California's Case Spike, COVID in Kids and... - June 30th, 2020
- Continuing the fascinating story of Bettys War as husband Harry returns safely - Stoke-on-Trent Live - June 30th, 2020
- La Septima Caf Adapts With Family Meals And A Thriving To-Go Business - Osprey Observer - June 30th, 2020
- Dr Punam Krishan: Here are my tips on how to keep safe in the summer sun summer - Glasgow Times - June 30th, 2020
- This July is Bound to Be a Wiener - PerishableNews - June 30th, 2020
- How the explosive YouTube war between James Charles and Tati Westbrook brought the value of vitamin supplement - Business Insider India - June 30th, 2020
- Bomb squad raid in Bingley linked to toxic diet pill - Bradford Telegraph and Argus - June 30th, 2020
- Study: Women Are Less Attracted to Men Who Have Cats In Their Dating Profile Pics - Mental Floss - June 30th, 2020
- We Need A COVID Reality Check: An MD Shares His 5 Reasons Why - mindbodygreen.com - June 30th, 2020
- How To Safely Celebrate The Fourth Of July With Your Baby - BabyGaga - June 25th, 2020
- Feed higher levels of Irish cereals with XL Grain - Agriland - June 25th, 2020
- Vegetarianism: Tapping Into the Meatless Revolution - Visual Capitalist - June 25th, 2020
- Lotus Flower Plague-Repellent Pills and Other Gifts From China - The New York Times - June 25th, 2020
- Best educational toys for kids aged 1 to 5 - goodtoknow - June 25th, 2020
- Living with stones in my body - The Citizen - June 25th, 2020
- Is it safer to fly or drive? 5 health experts weigh in - IOL - June 21st, 2020
- Plant-based nutrition as an alternative to meat - Food Dive - June 21st, 2020
- The Military Diet: Lose 10 Pounds in Just 1 Week? - June 20th, 2020
- Great white shark diet surprises scientists - News - The University of Sydney - June 20th, 2020
- 30 Healthyish Sips, Snacks, And Sauces To Stock Up On This Summer - Forbes - June 20th, 2020
- Experts on what the health risks of flying on a plane right now are - Insider - INSIDER - June 20th, 2020
- Shock as children find python abandoned in woodland - The Northern Echo - June 20th, 2020
- How to Maximise your Performance, Recovery and Health by Optimising your Gut Health - BOXROX - June 20th, 2020
- Is It Safe to Rent an Airbnb or Vacation Home Right Now? - Yahoo! Voices - June 20th, 2020
- Intermittent fasting and exercise: How to do it safely - Medical News Today - June 11th, 2020
- Lifestyle: Easing back into the real world - Worcester Mag - June 11th, 2020
- How to Be Safe at Work - WTOP - June 11th, 2020