A couple months ago, I attended an event where I had the opportunity to speak to a few specialists in health, beauty and wellness. One particular conversation with a facialist made me really curious about the food that we eat; more particularly the fact that (once again we all know this but) there is no one size fits all for “dieting”. And truth be told, it really isn’t a one size fits all for exercise either. She told me how our heritage plays a large part in how we should eat as individuals and this really got me thinking.
There is so much conflicting information out there from a variety of sources (qualified and unqualified) about what’s healthy and what’s not, so I decided to contact FitnessGenes to do a DNA test which checks for 40+ genes that are related to fitness, health and nutrition.
“Structuring and sticking to your diet can be hard work. We look at genes that influence how you respond to particular foods and ingredients, that may cause you to put on weight, or which affect whether you feel full after meals. We use this genetic information to create a nutrition plan tailored to your needs” FitnessGenes
My Daily Calorie Intake Was Much Higher Than I Imagined
Based on medium activity levels, and taking into account my measurements (weight, height, age, body type) the FitnessGenes nutritional calculator estimated my daily calorie intake to be 2142kcal. Adjusting this to -10% (just incase, as I’m not looking to put on weight), that equals to 1946kcal per day. FitnessGenes recommend that I split this into 4 meals plus one snack each day for optimal results.
I Quit Whole30 (Again)
I was about ten days into a whole30 when my results came back and they suggested that I should ensure that saturated fat makes up no more than around 12% of my total daily calories. Typical on whole30 I end up eating a high fat, high protein, low carb diet. My nutritional recommendations also suggest my macronutrient breakdown should be 48% carbohydrates, 27% fat and 24% protein. When I tracked my calories and macros on MyFitnessPal on whole30, I was finding it difficult to hit my protein and carb goals whilst massively going over on fats.
According to FitnessGenes, my insulin efficiency is average and as long as I am getting the majority of carbohydrates from healthy sources then I do not need to overly worry about the amount of carbohydrates I am consuming. Then they stated that, if legumes (beans, lentils, peas and peanuts) don’t make up a significant part of my current diet, I should consider adding or increasing them as these are a great source of carbohydrates and also a great source of protein (especially for vegans, vegetarians and those of you who don’t enjoy eating meat, fish or protein supplements). So that was another blow for whole30 as legumes are not allowed on the programme.
I’ve significantly cut down on the amount of coconut oil I use as well as consuming less red meat, or even meat in general.
I Cut Down On Snacking
FitnessGenes recommended that I should avoid snacking between meals as much as possible; my genetic variation makes it very likely that I feel hungry very quickly so one way to help manage my hunger would be by consuming lots of water. Increased hydration is always a good thing anyway and has been a goal of mine for quite a while.
In situations where I work out and can’t consume a full meal in the few hours following, then a snack can be great for recovery and to keep me until I do eat my next meal so I am still recommended at least one snack a day. Considering my gene variations it should contain at least 20-30 grams (80-120kcal) protein along with some carbohydrates. It’s ok to have some fat in there too.
…And Then I Updated My Supplements
In relation to the whole hunger thing, they suggested mixing 1-5g of glutamine with water which can help curb hunger. I picked up a bag of L-glutamine from MyProtein which I usually add to my glass of water each morning / evening. In the first two weeks of taking this supplement, not only did it curb my cravings, it basically curbed my appetite all together. I didn’t even put two and two together for ages and for a short time thought there was something seriously wrong with me! I continued supplementing with glutamine and my appetite has improved somewhat. I’m generally sticking to three meals a day and a snack when needed and my hanger has reduced to almost non existent! Just last week, I forgot (yes, forgot!) to have lunch and ended up grabbing a salad from Vital Ingredient at about 345pm!
I also started taking Perfect7 capsules again for the omega-3 supplementation. Although there is no scientific association between my gene variations and polyunsaturated omega-6 fat intake most of us don’t consume enough omega-3 which is an important polyunsaturated fat. Typically, I eat salmon which is rich in omega-3 twice a week but no other foods such as sardines, mackerel, fresh tuna, herring, halibut, flax seed oil, walnuts or chia seeds) so I chose to supplement daily with fish oil through the Perfect7 range. I tried buying mackerel one week but I was still suffering from appetite issues so ended up not eating it. I have been adding chia seeds to my weetabix / porridge breakfasts over the past few weeks though.
My results also identified that I have a greater risk of Vitamin D deficiency so I ensuring I include adequate amounts within my diet is particularly important. Supplementation was also recommended to help achieve this which is covered in my Perfect7 capsules.
|Photo Credit: Lolography|
My Caffeine Intake Is Now Strategic
My results determined that I was classified as a slow metabolizer of caffeine but this isn’t all bad! It means though that I might benefit from caffeine pre-workout and from my experience I think this is accurate. I remember the first time I used a pre-workout before spin class; my legs have never moved so fast!
What I do need to remember though, is that as a slow caffeine metaboliser, it can take up to 11 hours to clear my system. So to avoid it disrupting my sleep, I now either have a matcha latte in the morning with breakfast and / or any other caffeinated drinks before 3 or 4pm.
All of this barely scrapes the surface of the amount of information I got back from my test results! I also got a lot of information regarding my DNA and fitness, how to train etc which I will slowly work through and apply to my training on a day to day basis.
Tests start from £129 – to find out more, visit their website.
Are you curious to know what your DNA says about your nutrition and training?!