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ChangeMakersDiet & Nutrition

Joanna Soh Explains How to Find the Perfect Diet for Your Genes — Simple Steps to Personalised Wellness

5 Mins read

Diets.

Do they actually work?

Scientific studies have shown that 95% of us put the weight back on within 4 years. Even worse, 41% of dieters end up gaining even more weight than they lost.

With thousands of diets available, it’s increasingly difficult to know what to eat. But research now indicates a one-size-fits-all approach to dieting is ineffective. Dietary advice should differ from person to person. 

Increasingly, the focus for health and weight loss is turning to personalised nutrition.

Do DNA Diets Work?

If you’re sick and tired of dieting, don’t despair. A recent article by German scientists described genetic testing as an “innovative and promising” approach to custom nutrition advice. And with DNA testing now more accessible than ever, it’s easy to learn about your genetic makeup — so you can stop guessing what to eat and start making informed choices about your diet.

Joanna Soh Finds the Perfect Diet for Her Genes through CircleDNA

Top Asian health and fitness influencer Joanna Soh took her DNA test with CircleDNA in March 2020. She wanted to understand her body better so she could optimise her health. After 12 months of applying the advice in CircleDNA’s reports, Joanna took to YouTube to share her results with her 2.4 million subscribers.

As a certified personal trainer, Nutrition Coach and Women’s Fitness Specialist, Joanna Soh knows her stuff. She advocates against fad diets and promotes positive body image.

Every body is beautiful,” Joanna says. “But to achieve the perfect body, you must first understand your body and work according to your body type.”

“Many people think that by following the latest diet and a trendy exercise regime, they can look like their favourite celebrity,” she continues. “The truth is, the bodies we see on social media are more of a fantasy than reality.”

This doesn’t mean you should give up. Your body shape is, to some extent, genetically predefined. But, Joanna adds, “There is still lots you can do to improve the body you were given and feel amazing in it.”

For Joanna Soh, knowing her genetic profile helped her grow in self-acceptance. She explains: “After understanding my genetics and how my body is made, I learned to embrace it.”

She stresses too that, while genetics play a huge part in our body shape, we don’t have to blame our weight gain on our genes.

“[Genetics] shouldn’t serve as an excuse to live an unhealthy life.”

– Joanna Soh

The 4 DNA Diet Types

CircleDNA suggests 4 types of healthy diet, depending on your DNA profile.

  1. Low fat
  2. Low carb
  3. Healthy balance
  4. Mediterranean

Let’s dig into each below.

1. Low Fat Diet

If your optimal diet is low fat, a high fat or keto diet won’t work for you. But low fat doesn’t mean you can’t eat any fat. Dietary advice is to avoid saturated fats and choose unsaturated fats instead.

Saturated fats are found in animal products such as:

  • Red meat
  • Full-fat dairy products (cheese, cream, butter, and ghee)
  • Eggs
  • Poultry skin
  • Tropical oils (coconut and palm oil).

Too much saturated fat can increase your levels of bad cholesterol (LDL). LDL takes cholesterol straight to your arteries. It raises blood pressure and contributes to heart disease.

Unsaturated fats are heart-healthy. You’ll find them in plant foods like:

  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
Incorporate some “good cholesterols” from avocados and seeds into your meal plan.

They’re also found in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. Unsaturated fats reduce levels of LDL and increase good cholesterol (HDL). HDL helps rid your body of cholesterol via your liver.

A low-fat diet generally includes more carbs and protein. Around 55% to 60% of your calories can be from carbs, 20% from protein and the remaining 20% from fats. A plant-based diet is ideal.

Joanna has some simple diet recommendations to help you reduce saturated fat in your diet:

  • Trim any visible fat from meat.
  • Remove skin from poultry before cooking. 
  • Eat more plant-based, protein-rich foods (beans, peas, lentils, tempeh and tofu).
  • Avoid deep-fried foods.
  • Don’t eat fatty, processed meats like sausages, bacon or ribs.
  • Limit red meat to 2 or 3 servings a week, and choose lean cuts.

2. Low Carb Diet

If you’re highly sensitive to carbs, the Low-Carb diet is for you. Your body will also have a high resistance to insulin – the hormone that balances your blood sugar.

High insulin resistance means your blood sugar is likely to spike when you eat carbs, especially refined carbs. And it can develop into diabetes.

You might notice intense cravings for foods like biscuits, cereals, cake, bread and pasta. You may also never really feel full, which can cause you to overeat. You probably feel a dip in energy about 1 hour after eating carbs, and you gain weight easily. You can even suffer carb withdrawals, and experience headaches, mood swings and anxiety.

If you’re carb sensitive, you don’t have to cut out carbs altogether. But you need to choose the good carbs and limit your portion size.

Cut out refined carbs, starchy foods and sugary foods, and replace them with complex carbs like:

  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Buckwheat noodles
  • Brown rice
  • Sweet potatoes 
  • Pumpkin/squash 
  • Beans
Choose your carbs wise – try complex carbs like brown rice, quinoa and pumpkin.

Limit your carb intake to around 100 to 150 grams a day. Joanna suggests, “Half a cup of oats for breakfast, one small bowl of cooked brown rice for lunch and around 150 grams of sweet potatoes for dinner.”

When you’re carb sensitive, carbohydrate-rich foods have an impact on your well-being that goes beyond calorie count and potential weight gain. So, if you struggle with food cravings, it’s important to increase the amount of protein and non-starchy vegetables in your diet.

3. Healthy Balance Diet

If this is you, you’re lucky.

Your body tolerates fats and carbs well, and you can eat everything in moderation. For you, a healthy plate will be around 50% vegetables, 25% protein and 25% carbohydrate. You can fill your plate with a variety of colourful vegetables to get plenty of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, and add fruit to your meals.

Go for healthy, complex carbs and whole grains, and high-quality proteins like:

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Beans/legumes
  • Yoghurt
Chicken, tofu and beans are great choice for high-quality proteins.

You need roughly 0.8 grams of protein per kilo of body weight. But if you’re active, you need more like 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilo.

Joanna explains how she calculates her protein intake: 

“I’m 50 kilos. And because I’m active, I would consume about 1.5 grams of protein per kilo of my body weight. That means I should eat about 75 grams of protein a day. I would achieve that by consuming 2 eggs for breakfast, 1 portion of salmon for lunch, and one portion of white fish for dinner.”

CircleDNA’s nutrition report showed that Joanna needs higher doses of iodine, omega-3, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. She follows a pescatarian diet, eating oily fish like tuna, salmon and mackerel at least 3 times a week. If you prefer a vegetarian or vegan diet, she says it’s worth considering supplements.

Joanna has seen great results. She says, “I have enough strength and energy for my training. And I’ve improved my body composition by reducing my body fat and increasing my total lean-muscle mass.”

4. Mediterranean Diet

If your sensitivity to carbs and fats is high, you should be eating a Mediterranean diet. This DNA-based diet is low in saturated fat, low in carbs and high in unsaturated fats.

You will eat:

  • A wide variety of vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Fish and seafood
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts, seeds and legumes
  • Potatoes
Go for low yet heart-healthy fats, such as olive oil, nut, seeds and legumes.

Consume poultry, eggs, cheese and plain yoghurt in moderation and red meat rarely. Cut down on soft drinks, processed meats and refined grains. Use olive oil in your cooking instead of butter.

Wellness for Your Body Type

Joanna says finding your DNA diet type is a positive step towards wellness.

“It’s important to recognize that your body type is not a life sentence. Your body type will shift based on your lifestyle activity and diet modifications. By understanding your genetics, you will be able to make the right diet choices, rather than blindly following a diet trend.”

CircleDNA currently provides the world’s most comprehensive home DNA test. Send us your cheek swab sample, and we’ll send you results that are 99.9% accurate. You’ll receive 500+ reports to help with everything from diet to sleep. And since your DNA will never change, you only need one DNA test for a lifetime of insights.

What are you going to eat today? 

Discover your personalised recommendations with CircleDNA. Follow Joanna’s suit and use her promo code “JOANNA33” for a 33% discount today!

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