We get it. Viome isn’t the only company to use the words “science-based, personalized nutrition”. The internet is saturated in companies claiming to offer recommendations based on your body type, a questionnaire, or your DNA. Although technology today is racing at the speed of light, most likely these companies are falling short on what they promise: offering limited “personal” options or generalizing their results in a manner that doesn’t quite add up.
During World War II, the United States National Academy of Sciences came up with a list of recommended daily allowances for vitamins and minerals, a list you can find on the National Institutes of Health’s website here. Skip ahead to now and reaching those quotas might make your head spin. That’s why adding a daily multivitamin to fill the gaps in your diet is a common approach, especially for many who want to their body operating in peak condition.
Each vitamin and mineral has its own purpose and function, and for the most part, our body cannot make it ourselves. Instead, we have to get most of these micronutrients in the foods we eat. In general, the best way to make sure your body is getting the nutrients it needs is by incorporating a wide variety of whole foods rich with naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. Daily vitamin supplements should only be used to fill the gaps in conjunction with a healthy diet, and never in place of it.
But if you’re ready to take the plunge, there are many obstacles you’ll most likely face with vitamin supplements. For example, they’re not to be taken lightly. Overdosing is a possibility so those “megadose” companies aren’t really a good fit – so make sure you always follow the recommended serving and never double up yourself. In addition to the serving size, how we digest our food often can impact how much of the vitamin we can actually absorb. When we consume a glass of milk rich in calcium, we might only be able to absorb a fraction of it. Suddenly, if you also eat a tangerine, rich in Vitamin C – you might be absorbing a higher quantity of calcium. This is because in some cases, other vitamins and minerals we consume can also influence how well our body absorbs them, even as far as blocking the process.
The biggest variable is also your diet, making companies that claim they can personalize your vitamin pack a little suspicious. In fact, if you’ve tried one of those “Take Our Quiz and We’ll Find the Perfect Pack for You!” – these companies actually only offer a small range of vitamin variations. Despite your “quiz results,” are you really exactly like the 15% of the population that got the same result? Probably not…
DNA-Testing Nutrition Companies
Your DNA can tell you a lot about yourself and your ancestry. It’s certainly a great way to track down your lineage and in many new studies, can help you determine your risk for certain diseases – like breast cancer1. At Viome, we understand how important DNA can be to learning about our health, but just because you have a gene for something, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s actively expressing. Instead, DNA companies claiming they can find your ultimate diet by exploring what genes are predominant in you aren’t actually all that accurate. You may feel great one year and feel terrible another year, and yet your DNA based recommendations will advise the same diet. Truthfully, whether or not the gene is being expressed is a better indicator of what’s going on inside you – which is why Viome studies RNA in your gut microbiome. Only RNA can tell you what is actually happening inside of you.
Even scientists agree - large scale clinical studies such as the DIETFITS study from Stanford University Medical School found that there was no significant difference in weight loss among participants who were assigned a diet that “matched” to their genetic profile from those who were “mismatched.2”
Yes, our DNA is unique to each person - except in the case of twins, which is a perfect example. Two identical twins may share the same DNA but can have big differences in their personality, weight, health issues, or diet response that are often influenced by their environment and other stimuli.
Individual Meal Plan Companies
If you’re struggling with meeting all your nutrition needs, it might seem tempting to try a one-size-fits-all meal preparation company; after all, it worked for so many of the celebrities you see on TV - right?
Although the meal-prep industry is booming and the days of cardboard-flavored food might be slightly behind us, it still seems like a lot of companies fall short of delivering that personalized home-made meal you were craving, and a lot of that has to do with hidden sugars and a rather high salt content. Even with freshly frozen or “personalized plans,” these meals often fail to account for the unique differences in each person.
At Viome, we’ve learned just how our dietary patterns shape our cravings and influence how we digest foods. That “healthy meal” you’ve just pulled out of your freezer isn’t going to take into consideration what foods are right for your gut. In fact, only by assessing the kinds of microbial activities that are prevalent inside you can give you better insight into which foods may help stabilize your gut ecosystem, reduce instances of bloating and inflammation, and improve your efforts on your weight loss journey. Ditch the trends and whatever general recommendations someone told you on a dated commercial: tap into the science and find out what’s best for you.
Feel the difference with Viome
We’ll say it once, and we’ll say it again - there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diet, so why think other health products are any different? We each have our own needs, our own internal and biological fingerprint, and our own individual preferences. Just because one thing works for the many doesn’t mean it works for you. Instead of wasting any more time on what other people say work for them, invest in what works for you. Take the Viome challenge and see what’s happening within your gut. With our Gut Intelligence Test, you’ll get personalized results with real individual actionable recommendations that take into account your history, your body, and what’s currently going on inside of your gut microbiome.
This holiday season, share the gift of health with family and test together! All December long, when you buy 2 or more tests, you'll get each for only $119.
1. Force USPST, Owens DK, Davidson KW, et al. Risk Assessment, Genetic Counseling, and Genetic Testing for BRCA-Related Cancer: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. JAMA. 2019;322:652-665.
2. Gardner CD, Trepanowski JF, Del Gobbo LC, et al. Effect of Low-Fat vs Low-Carbohydrate Diet on 12-Month Weight Loss in Overweight Adults and the Association With Genotype Pattern or Insulin Secretion: The DIETFITS Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2018;319:667-679.