Can your genes help create ‘designer’ diets, exercise programs for you?

Imagine a diet that would let you lose weight without cutting calories, or an exercise program that would tell in advance whether you’d get more benefit from pumping iron than walking a treadmill.

It may sound like wishful thinking or a late-night TV informercial, but researchers at the University of Miami medical school are studying the theory that nutrition and exercise can be affected by a person’s individual genetic makeup.

“I believe if we look at people at the molecular level we can improve their health,” says Sylvia Daunert, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the UM Medical School. The studies question long-held beliefs about food selection and weight loss. For example, could 1,000 calories of turkey cause more weight gain in some people than 1,000 calories of cashews? If so, could a person lose weight through food selection without cutting total calories?

And could a person’s genes pre-determine whether he or she will benefit from a particular type of exercise – or perhaps be at greater risk of injury from it?

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