“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. -Socrates”


NOTE: Please consult your doctor before implementing a new fitness or meal plan. Article sources are cited at the bottom of this page. If you’d like to meet with Dr Dani (Naturopathic Doctor serving Portland, Oregon) to learn more about what meals and foods may work best for you or to improve your health please book an appointment. Accepting and loving oneself no matter where we are in life is the first step in living the life we want to live. The research presented here shows that genetics play a significant role in how each one of us stores and burns fat. Since each of us has a unique genetic disposition, it is our belief as Naturopaths in Portland that loving and accepting our current personal reality will help us make decisions that make best use of the gifts each of us has been given will lead us toward increased health, vitality and fulfillment.

New Research Shows: It’s Harder For Some People to Lose Weight

Within the fitness and healthy living community, the debate about the superiority of either a low-fat versus low-carbohydrate meal plan for weight loss has gone back and forth for decades. A third, smaller group of people seem to be able to easily lose weight with minimal changes in eating and light exercise. Adherents of each health/fitness plan have personal evidence of the effectiveness of their respective approach and claim that it works well for them. So, who is right? The answer, according to researchers at Stanford University, is that all of these approaches might be right, for some people but not everyone. As to which meal plan is right for you, the new research specifically points to genetics. Furthermore, matching one’s meal plan and type of workout to one’s genetic disposition toward processing fats and carbs may increase weight loss by almost three times that of a mismatched meal and fitness plan.

In the Stanford Research, 88% of the participants’ metabolisms were noticeably resistant to burning fat during low intensity activities like walking. Furthermore, 84% of study participants needed either a low-carb or a low-fat meal plan to optimally lose weight, whereas the remaining 16% could easily shed weight with any meal plan. This means that as far as exercise is concerned, 88% of us won’t burn large amounts of fat unless the exercise is of a very high intensity. And, 84% of people won’t lose weight as efficiently if they are not matched with the appropriate low carb or low fat meal plan.

In regard to meal planning, the above findings may sound like bad news at first. But, the silver lining here is that for the 84% of people in the study, matching the types of foods they ate to their genetic disposition resulted in much faster weight loss. This means that we can now begin to make more informed and conscious decisions about the foods we eat so that they match well with our body’s needs. If you’re part of the remaining 16% that can easily shed pounds with either low-carb or low-fat, then perhaps this article will simply let you know that most of your peers need to be much more careful about the foods they eat than you do.

As for workout intensity, for the 84% majority of study participants, high intensity workouts were needed to burn large amounts of body fat quickly. Study participants in the remaining 12% were able to burn significant amounts of fat during either low or intensity workouts and can lose weight easily with light exercise and a little bit of portion control.

These new scientific findings shed light on what many have experienced for their whole lives. What we do with this knowledge is up to us, but we now can make decisions to find out the best combination of foods and exercise for our individual bodies.

Matching Genetics With Low-Carb or Low-Fat Improved Weight-Loss

Of the majority of people (84%) in the study, 45% of participants lost the most weight on very low-carb meal plans while the remaining 39% of people lost weight most efficiently on low-fat, high carbohydrate meals. This new research finding dovetails with one of the key tenants of how Terrain Wellness understands naturopathic medicine. That medical care and the foods we eat should be individualized to the specific needs of each individual person. And, that certain foods may be “healthy” for one individual but “unhealthy” and best eaten sparingly if at all by someone else. This research also seems to fit very well with the reality of a multiplicity of conflicting advice on how to attain or keep a healthy weight. The other pleasant part of these research findings is that it’s not so much about who is right or wrong in that each meal plan will work very well for certain people. It seems much more evolved to find what types of food are right for you so you can function at your highest level.

You Can Genetically Test To Find Which Meal Plan & Workout Routine is Best For You

For readers who have completed a complete 23andme.com evaluation, you can actually find out which of these genetic markers you have and determine both what types of foods work best with your metabolism and also what type of exercise will yield the best results. Click the following link if you’d like to try a genetics flowchart that explains which genes coincide with which fitness and meal guidelines. Also, please keep in mind that your total calorie intake numbers still play a role in body composition.
Genetically Speaking, What type of exercises and foods will help me lose weight?

People with AA or TT on ADRB3 rs4994 and an AA or TT on ADRB2 rs1042713 then you are one of the lucky 12% of people who can lose significant weight on either low or high intensity workouts. If not, then you’re one of the 88% of people who need high intensity workouts to burn significant body fat.

People who have CC on PPARG rs1801282 and ADRB2 rs1042714 are part of the 16% of people who can experience efficient weight loss on either a low carb or low fat meal plan. For those without a GG on FABP2 rs1799883 who also don’t have a CC on PPARG rs4801282 are part of the 45% of people who will experience best weight loss on a low carb meal plan. People with either an AA, TT on ADRB2 or who have a GG on FABP2 but do not have CC on both ADRB2 rs1042714 and PPARG rs1801282 will experience best results on a low fat meal plan.

If all of these genetic markers seem to complicated, many people can find out what works best for them through real-world experience under the guidance of experienced healthcare professionals.

This study certainly isn’t the final word on health and fitness, but it does help verify the veracity of many people’s life experiences and struggles with weight gain. The efficacy of more intense workouts may help explain the increasing popularity of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and other strenuous workout regimens. Also, the research does lend credibility to some weight loss plans involving either reducing fat content or carbohydrate content in the foods we consume. However, the research also shows that while these plans may work best for some, for others not so much. There are many paths toward greater life satisfaction and making health decisions that fit with our life goals help us define what our best self is. If you’re trying to find your best self, maybe a naturopath (naturopathic physician) with Terrain Wellness here in Portland, Oregon can help.

Further Reading:

Stanford University Medical Study

Genetic Marker rs1042714 in ADRB2 Gene

Genetic Marker rs1799883 in FABP2 Gene

Genetic Marker rs1801282 in PPARG Gene

Matching Your Genetics To Workouts & Meal Plan Crucial For Weight Loss