Health Testing Reviews for My Gene Diet

At a Glance

Editor's Rating:
4 out of 5 stars
Customer Service:
5 out of 5 stars
Clarity of Results:
4 out of 5 stars
References Cited:
1 out of 5 stars
Value for Money:
4 out of 5 stars

Summary

I felt that the Genetic Test, Diet and Exercise Advice package from My Gene Diet was an excellent nutritional guide. I learned a lot about the variations I possess which have been making it hard for me to lose weight all these years, and it was great to finally get my hands on specific meal plans that I could follow.

I found the report concentrated more on weight loss than on wellbeing or energy levels, but truth be told, I took the test for help losing weight so I was glad this was where they focussed.

On the down side, I found the exercise recommendations were quite general, and didn’t really constitute a plan I could follow. The report suggested I both cut calories and increase my exercise levels to lose weight most effectively, but I wasn’t left with a clear idea of the best exercises for me, or to what extent I should undertake them each week.

All in all, I would recommend the Genetic Test, Diet and Exercise Advice package to someone trying to lose weight.

Full Review

Natures Remedies have promoted the ‘My Gene Diet’ since 2012, they were one of the first companies to make diet and exercise recommendations based on a genetic test. They’ve adapted their test several times in the last four years and we wanted to try the latest version to see how it compared.

Product Expectations

The My Gene Diet site appears to be targeted to those who’ve tried to diet in the past without success. There were clear explanations of the 11 genetic variations they test for, and how these impact our hunger levels, eating behaviour, food preferences, bodyweight and exercise effectiveness.

It was amazing to see the specific genetic variations they analyse clearly listed on their homepage! This is something virtually no other genetic testing company does and it filled me with confidence about the expertise of the My Gene Diet team. Knowing I’d be able to Google the genetic variations I possess and seek my own interpretation was very reassuring.

There were four types of service available; the standard ‘Genetic Test, Diet and Exercise Advice’ package, the ‘FTO Gene Test’, ‘The My Gene Diet Personal Trainer Package’, and ‘Zotrim’ packages (Zotrim is a herbal weight loss supplement that helps you feel fuller for longer).

The Genetic Test, Diet and Exercise Advice package included the test, a personalised diet and exercise plan, a personal consultation and a months’ supply of Zotrim. The FTO Gene Test was a reduced version of the above package - it tested for fewer variations and provided fewer recommendations. The Personal Trainer Package required you to have purchased the Genetic Test, Diet and Exercise Advice package, and essentially consisted of four weeks of personal coaching to help you stick to your genetically tailored diet and exercise plans. I opted for the Genetic Test, Diet and Exercise Advice package as this is the highest resolution package that My Gene Diet offer.

The packages were all responsibly presented, the studies identifying the genetic variations sought were provided, and I felt that I knew exactly what I’d be buying. At no point did I feel that My Gene Diet promised more than they could deliver, unlike several companies that provide a similar service.

Ordering Experience

It was a simple matter to choose the package I wanted but when I progressed through the basket and checkout pages, I saw strange lines of code at the top of each page which left me feeling a little uncertain. It was also odd to note that the prices were displayed with and without VAT.

The testing kit arrived in the post a few days later in a neat My Gene Diet pack. It contained everything I needed to provide a sample, including a simple one-page diet and exercise questionnaire to complete.

I dispatched my sample back to the lab but was disappointed that I had to pay for return postage. I also had to chase My Gene Diet for confirmation that they’d received my sample.

It was strange that I didn’t have to sign any terms and conditions to take the test. This was both refreshing - as every other company I’ve bought from has terms and conditions for taking their test, sometime dozens of pages long! - and disconcerting because I wasn’t sure exactly where I stood. Fortunately, the My Gene Diet product page stated that any samples would be destroyed after the analysis had been completed, which gave me some peace of mind.

Results

Six weeks later I received the results as a 16-page PDF document. The document contained four sections: ‘Welcome’, ‘Your My-gene-diet results and recommendations’, ‘Your recommended diet’ and ‘If you wish to lose weight’.

Results section: Welcome

This section told me that if I followed the suggestions in the report I’d have the best chance of achieving my goal, be it to achieve greater wellbeing, reduce or maintain my weight, or to improve my energy levels.

It was confirmed that eight genetic variations had been sought (odd as the product description said 11 would be sought), and that I may have inherited a variation from neither, one, or both parents. If I’ve received a variation from both parents, I learned that this would have a bigger impact than inheriting it from just one parent.

I learned that the report had been put together according to research associated to the eight variations sought, the influence they’re known to have on weight, diet and fitness routines, and the experience of hundreds of My Gene Diet customers.

Results section: Your My-gene-diet results and recommendations

This section started with a table that indicated whether I’d inherited no copies, one copy or two copies of the 11 variations sought (shown below) – I was glad that the full 11 had been analysed after all!

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My results table.

My results table.

Unfortunately, without an explanation of each genetic variation alongside, the report wasn’t very meaningful. What was also perplexing was that text at the top of the table said ‘read about the effect and your recommendations in this table’ – I wasn’t sure what to make of this.

The report then went through each of the 11 variations sought. I learned that I do not possess variations rs1421085, rs9939609 or rs1121980 of the FTO gene. It’s a shame there wasn’t any information alongside that told me more about the FTO gene – I would have liked to have learned what it meant to possess these variations.

I read that I possessed one copy of variation gln27glu of the ADRB2 gene, which codes for the ‘beta-2-adrenergic receptor protein’. Apparently, this protein occurs in fat cells where it’s involved in the mobilisation of fat for energy production. The report said this meant I’d have a tendency to overeat (which I do!) and that weight gain occurs more rapidly when I overeat (which definitely rings with my personal experience). I was advised to eat and exercise according to the recommendations laid out in the report to counteract this variation.

The report went on to say that I don’t possess the arg16gly variation of the ADRB2 gene, that I don’t possess any variation of the APOA gene, and that I don’t possess any variation of the NMB gene. I thought these last two results were a little odd, surely I possess this gene, and therefore must have some variation of it?

For my ACTN3 gene, I learned that I have a single variation which makes me ‘combined’ in regards to sport. Apparently, I have similar amounts of ‘slow twitch’ and ‘fast twitch’ muscle fibres, which means I don’t have a genetic advantage when it comes to power sports or endurance sports. It’s a shame examples of power or endurance sports weren’t provided here as I wasn’t certain which sports would fall into each category.

I read that all types of sport suit me and that I should vary my exercise to use both my slow and fast twitch muscle fibres. It made sense that varying my workouts would be beneficial, but I have to say that I don’t think all types of sport suit me – I’m good at certain endurance sports like long distance running and cycling, but I struggle with most other sports.

The last piece of advice associated to my ACTN3 gene was that I should exercise for at least half an hour a day to stay healthy. This wasn’t news to me and I wished the information had been a bit less generic.

Lastly, I saw that I didn’t possess the rs17782313 or rs12970134 variations of the MCR4 gene, but that I did possess one copy of the rs17700633 variation.

I learned that the MCR4 gene codes for the ‘melanocortin-4 receptor protein’ which has an important function in eating control, affecting both appetite and satiety. I found the associated advice for this gene a bit confusing - I read that ‘Overweight through this gene variation often occurs when quite young and can be triggered by periods of inactivity’ – I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this.

I was also advised to test my children for variations of this gene, because if you possess one of the variations listed, it’s difficult to reduce your weight when you’re already overweight. Should my children possess one of the variations, preventing them from becoming overweight early on via calorie control and appropriate food choices was recommended.

The report said that the typical effects of MCR4 variations was to be overweight, to be inclined to overeat, to be inclined to feel unsatisfied by eating, and that lasting weight loss would be difficult to achieve. I was amazed that all four of the effects outlined exactly reflect my personal experience.

The report went on to say that I could ‘turn off’ the MCR4 variation by strictly controlling my diet – I didn’t quite understand what was meant by ‘turn off’ and would have liked some detail on this. The report also advised that I stay active and exercise regularly which again wasn’t news to me.

Results Section: Your recommended diet

This section told me that when I eat according to my genes, I’ll have the best chance of feeling energetic without the urge to overeat or crave unhealthy foods – this sounded great to me!

A chart was shown, based on my genetic analysis and questionnaire answers, which indicated the proportion of protein, fat and carbohydrate I should consume (shown below) – this is ‘The Clever Carbs Diet’.

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The Clever Carbs Diet.

The Clever Carbs Diet.

The report said that two thirds of the calories I consume should come from carbohydrate, and to do this, I’d need to include a high proportion of carbohydrate in every meal. It went on to say that the carbohydrate sources should be mostly healthy and require slow digestion (e.g. whole grain bread or high fibre cereals).

I read that I should keep refined sugar consumption to a minimum and make an effort to include protein in every meal. I should also keep my diet low in fat and minimise saturated fats where possible (e.g. dairy and meat products).

I was then shown a three-day meal plan (shown below), which followed The Clever Carbs Diet. This would mean I’d consume less than 1,600 calories a day, which, for a ‘moderately active person of average build wishing to lose weight at a healthy rate’, would allow me to lose 1lb per week.

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My three-day meal plan.

My three-day meal plan.

The meals looked very tasty and were definitely doable. There were lots of foods in the plan that I hadn’t considered before like porridge, pitta pockets, cottage cheese, rye crispbreads, tofu and oatcakes, but I’d definitely be prepared to try them.

I was also impressed to see that the plans specified quantities, and contained some really tasty ideas like spreading peanut butter on apple slices! The report went on to explain more about food groups, to help me put my own recipes together.

Good sources of protein, fat and carbohydrate were outlined, as were the proteins, fats and carbohydrates I should eat in moderation, and the proteins, fats and carbohydrates I should avoid. There were also helpful guides that showed what a 20g serving of protein could consist of, a 10g serving of fat, and a 50g serving of carbohydrate.

Results section: If you wish to lose weight

This section opened by saying I’d have to eat 500 fewer calories per day to lose 1lb in weight each week. Before getting the report, my understanding was that men should eat 2,500 calories a day, so I didn’t quite understand why my recommended meal plan suggested 1,600 calories per day instead of 2,000.

The report said that the ideal solution for weight loss is to combine cutting calories with increased exercise levels. A strategy that was suggested to help me do this was to keep a food and exercise diary – I already do this for exercise which works quite well, but I personally find that keeping a food diary causes me to feel restricted and I end up binge eating every few days.

Some strategies for portion control were recommended and I was advised to eat little and often. I also learned that alcoholic drinks contain a significant number of calories, so avoiding alcohol would help me lose weight too.

The report went on to talk about controlling hunger and recommended the herbal weight loss aid ‘Zotrim’. I read that this would help reduce food intake by approximately 20%, and aids a weight loss of 1-2lbs each week. Although this sounded promising I’ve tried supplements before without success. In my own experience, my hunger arises out of boredom or anxiety, and trying to block the hunger without addressing these feelings doesn’t stop me from overeating.

Results Section: Personal consultation

After going through the report I took advantage of the personal consultation and arranged my phone call with Laura, the My Gene Diet nutritionist and personal trainer.

Laura was very friendly and gave me as much time as I needed to ask questions, in the end we spoke for 50 minutes! It was great to speak with someone so knowledgeable and empathetic about my weight loss goals, we even discussed the diets I’d tried in the past and I better understood why I’d fallen down on previous attempts to lose weight.

Laura was able to answer most of my questions and she committed to sending me the answers to a few queries that were specifically genetic. I came away from the call feeling really confident that the recommended diet strategy would work for me.

Summary

I felt that the Genetic Test, Diet and Exercise Advice package from My Gene Diet was an excellent nutritional guide. I learned a lot about the variations I possess which have been making it hard for me to lose weight all these years, and it was great to finally get my hands on specific meal plans that I could follow.

I found the report concentrated more on weight loss than on wellbeing or energy levels, but truth be told, I took the test for help losing weight so I was glad this was where they focussed.

On the down side, I found the exercise recommendations were quite general, and didn’t really constitute a plan I could follow. The report suggested I both cut calories and increase my exercise levels to lose weight most effectively, but I wasn’t left with a clear idea of the best exercises for me, or to what extent I should undertake them each week.

All in all, I would recommend the Genetic Test, Diet and Exercise Advice package to someone trying to lose weight.

Please note that we were invited to take this test free of charge.

See a description of this DNA test from My Gene Diet >