It's in the genes if you want to fit into your jeans. New Orleans-based GenoVive (www.genovive.com) recently invited me to a press conference to try some meals from its revolutionary DNA Diet.
Based on my gender, height, weight, age and DNA (yes, I had to provide samples by swabbing my mouth), the company did a scientific analysis in its certified lab. From that, they compiled a 22-page report of my body type, metabolism rate and the specific proportion of macronutrients – carbohydrates, proteins and fats – I need to most efficiently burn calories and lose weight.
"In the last decade, scientists decoded the human genome and gave us the ability to study our individual DNA, to see what this new diet might offer," explains Beverly Swango, director of product development and a former food product developer at NASA. "Identifying an individual's specific set of gene variants known to be associated with various aspects of weight management helps us choose the best source of fuel.
"As we explored the association between weight management and DNA, we discovered the emerging science of nutrigenomics, the study of how genes and nutrients interact and how this affects our body's ability to function. Research in this area is expanding daily and is providing us with the ability to make better food choices based on our specific genetic profiles."
Since one size does not fit all when it comes to dieting, GenoVive (a combination of genomics and life) scientists and nutritionists (along with chefs – this is, after all, a New Orleans company) developed the world's first and only DNA approach to weight loss and healthy eating tailored to each individual. GenoVive uses what it claims is proven technology and research developed at leading universities in the U.S., the Netherlands and the UK to formulate customized meal plans with the ideal balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates for each individual's DNA.
Some 62 percent of doctors are dealing with serious weight problems during patient visits. On average, they report that almost a third (31 percent) of their patients are obese, and 31 percent are overweight.
Some people are genetically predisposed to gain weight, store weight and resist weight loss. A recent Kelton Research survey, commissioned by GenoVive, of 102 physicians found 99 percent agree a person's genes influence his or her ability to lose or manage weight. In fact, more than half (55 percent) would make recommendations about a diet plan based primarily on a patient's genetics.
Only 21 percent of doctors have heard of the term nutrigenomics, yet more than half (52 percent) say they are familiar with the concept after reading an in-depth description of it.
With more than 100 varieties, GenoVive meal plans fall into four categories. Optimal Balance (OBL) is a balanced diet with an emphasis on calories from carbohydrates, moderate protein and moderate fat. Fat Optimized (OFC) emphasizes reduction of fat, moderate protein and carbohydrates as the balance of calories. Carbohydrate Optimized (OCC) has an emphasis on the reduction of carbohydrates, with moderate protein and the balance in fat (that one turned out to be mine). Fat & Carbohydrate Optimized (OFCC) reduces fat and carbohydrates and increases protein. All the meals are pre-assembled into daily menus.
"We use DNA analysis to determine the correct macronutrient balance to optimize the body's calorie burning potential," says San San Ng, director of scientific affairs.
A personalized home-delivered plan includes meals for six days a week, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, beverages and vitamin supplements. The meals are shelf-stable (you just microwave them in the BPA-free container). You get to eat what you want (within reason) on the seventh day. Meals are absolutely sensational; they could be served in a high-end restaurant.
Chef-inspired entrees include a variety of natural hormone- and antibiotic-free meats such as chicken, beef and pork, and in the future the company plans to develop a vegetarian line. Each entree and snack is formulated with specific ingredients for nutritional content with natural flavors and seasonings for great taste. They contain no artificial preservatives and are free of BHA, BHT, MSG and sulfites. Snacks are made with whole grains and no artificial sweeteners.
An exercise plan also is provided. GenoVive partners with Travis Steffen of WorkoutBox, who created weekly exercise plans made to work with the intensity level recommended by each genetic profile and complement the meal program. Each workout consists of a 5-minute warm-up, walking, 15-25 minutes of cardiovascular exercises and a series of conditioning exercises.
"Dieting has become a part of the vocabulary and a way of life for millions of Americans. Yet for all their efforts, statistics show 95 percent gain the weight back within a five-year period, says Victor Castellon, CEO of GenoVive. "This is due in part to the fact that most diets do not take into account how a person's own genetic makeup influences his or her weight. GenoVive understands that weight management is more than just behavioral factors and physical activity and has identified specific genes that can unlock a person's weight loss potential."
There is a one-time charge for the GenoVive Weight Management DNA Test Kit of $149.99. The Customized Meal Program, exercise program and a premium supplement package with omega-3 capsules, multivitamin and mineral tablets is $599.99 for a one month supply.