Tailoring diets to DNA can help prevent diabetes

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In a new study led by Imperial College London and DnaNudge, researchers have discovered a promising strategy to manage blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in individuals at high risk.

This innovative approach involves using personalized dietary advice based on an individual’s genetic information, combined with professional dietary coaching.

The findings suggest that this tailored approach could be more effective at reducing blood glucose levels than the standard dietary coaching currently recommended in the UK.

The study involved 148 participants with elevated blood sugar levels, placing them at risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes.

The participants were divided into three groups: one receiving standard dietary advice, another receiving personalized dietary coaching informed by their genetic data, and a third group using a DNA-based diet with the aid of DnaNudge’s app and wearable device for food and drink recommendations.

The results at 26 weeks showed a significant reduction in fasting plasma glucose and glycated hemoglobin levels in participants following the DNA-based diet, indicating improved blood sugar control.

This research is part of a broader effort to explore how genetic information can be used to prevent long-term health conditions and improve overall health.

The pilot study’s positive outcomes highlight the potential of genetically-informed diets as an intervention for pre-diabetes, suggesting that such approaches could offer a more effective alternative or complement to standard dietary advice.

Pre-diabetes is a condition characterized by slightly elevated blood sugar levels that are not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Without intervention, a significant portion of individuals with pre-diabetes may progress to type 2 diabetes each year.

Lifestyle changes, including diet and physical activity, have been shown to significantly reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

The personalized dietary advice used in this study is based on understanding that certain genetic traits can influence an individual’s risk of diet-related chronic conditions, allowing for more targeted and potentially more effective dietary modifications.

DnaNudge, an Imperial spinout, developed the technology for providing personalized diet plans derived from a simple saliva sample.

This pilot study’s results offer hope for a new, more personalized approach to diabetes prevention, emphasizing the importance of tailoring dietary advice to an individual’s genetic makeup.

The researchers caution that the study’s findings, while promising, are preliminary and that larger trials are necessary to confirm the effectiveness of this approach in diverse populations and across different conditions.

They plan to conduct a larger, multi-national trial to further validate their results and explore the potential of personalized nutrition in preventing type 2 diabetes on a broader scale.

This research underscores the evolving understanding of the complex relationship between genetics, diet, and chronic diseases like diabetes.

If validated in larger studies, DNA-tailored dietary advice could become a crucial tool in the fight against diabetes, offering a cost-effective, scalable, and personalized prevention strategy for those at risk.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about a cure for type 2 diabetes, and these vegetables could protect against kidney damage in diabetes.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies about bone drug that could lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and results showing eating more eggs linked to higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

The research findings can be found in Scientific Reports.

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