New tests link DNA to better diet


LONDON (CBS News) — DNA tests are exploding in popularity as people try to learn more about their ancestry.

Now researchers in the U.K. say your biology can also tell you the best foods to eat for your body.

People are lining up for cheek swabs at a shop in central London called ‘DnaNudge.’ Unlike other DNA tests, there’s no lab at the store. There’s just a small machine that scans DNA for health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. DNA is analyzed in about an hour and given to customers in a Fitbit-style wristband synced to an app.

Professor Chris Toumazou, Co-Founder of DnaNudge, says “we’re effectively using your biology to nudge you to make healthier choices within what you eat.”

Once you have the information, it’s time to shop. Scientists have loaded the app with thousands of food products from grocery stores across the U.K. With a simple scan of the barcode, the wristband will turn green when a food is right for you and red when you should try something else. The app won’t just tell you to put down the cookie. It guides you to a healthier one.

Dr. Maria Karvela, Co-Founder of DnaNudge, says “If you want to buy a biscuit, then let us find the better biscuit for you and your biology.”

Families like the Crowne-Spencers have joined a clinical trial at Imperial College London to see how much of an impact these small changes can have on people predisposed to Type 2 diabetes. Sam Crowne-Spencer says, “I love the fact that when I go shopping I can make the right choices for all three of us.”

Researchers hope the trial will prove that using your own biology really is the key to a healthier lifestyle. The ‘Shop with your DNA’ technology is popping up at stores across London for the next few months as the trial continues.

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