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Genes Nutr. 2012 Oct;7(4):559-66. Epub 2012 Mar 11.

A randomized trial of genetic information for personalized nutrition.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, Room 350, University of Toronto, 150 College St, Toronto, ON, M5S 3E2, Canada.


Personal genetic information has become increasingly accessible to the public as a result of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests; however, concerns have been raised over their value and potential risks. We compared the effects of providing genotype-based dietary advice with general recommendations on behavioral outcomes using a randomized controlled study. Participants were men and women from the Toronto Nutrigenomics and Health Study between the ages of 20-35 years (n = 149) who completed a survey to assess their awareness of DTC genetic tests and nutrigenomics, as well as potential motivations for undergoing genetic testing. Participants were then randomized into an intervention (I) or control (C) group and were given either genotype-based personalized dietary advice or general dietary advice, respectively. A second survey was administered to assess the participants' opinions of the dietary reports they received. A greater proportion of participants in the intervention group agreed that they understood the dietary advice they were given (93% (I) vs. 78% (C); p = 0.009). Participants in the intervention group were more likely to agree that the dietary recommendations they received would be useful when considering their diet (88% (I) vs. 72% (C); p = 0.02) and wanted to know more about the recommendations (95% (I) vs. 76% (C); p < 0.0001). Only 9% of participants in the intervention group reported feeling uneasy about learning their genetic information. These findings suggest that individuals find dietary recommendations based on genetics more understandable and more useful than general dietary advice. Very few feel uneasy about receiving their genetic information that relates to personalized nutrition.

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