DNA Dieting? It was only a matter of time.....

Posted by Jamie Brooks November 28, 2007
Biopolitical Times
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The United States is dealing with skyrocketing obesity rates at the same time we are becoming obsessed with thinness. This has created a market for Americans to be inundated with diet advertisements for quick fixes promising weight loss.

It was only a matter of time before biotechnology would promise people that it could help them get their sexy back while capitalizing on the multi-million dollar diet industry. Enter GenoTrim™, the "world's first DNA-customized nutritional supplement for optimal weight."

GenoTrim™ advertises that for $495 you can take the GenoTrim™ DNA test. This, it claims, will detect your genetic imbalances by analyzing what it calls the "sweet tooth gene," "nervous eating gene," "fat regulator gene," "new cell gene" and the "obesity risk gene." Then, for $99 dollars a month, you can buy a supply of genetically-guided nutritional supplements customized uniquely for you.

The asterisk mark following these statements should come as no surprise. The caveat: "The supplement is most effective when working in conjunction with a reasonable diet and exercise plan…These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration."

Personalized medicine sounds like a promising approach, but it is still too early to gauge how useful it will be. And, due to the fact millions of genetic variations may exist, identifying them all, and having an accurate understanding of how genes interact with one another may make the fruits of genetic medicine more distant than its proponents would like to admit. Nevertheless, the GenoTrim™ service has already launched, with an expected $70 million in sales over the next five years.

Obesity is certainly a health risk. But as the medical industry and the media increasingly embrace genetic explanations for almost every health condition, will the age-old adage of eating less and exercising more find itself in smaller and smaller print until it finally vanishes?