Olympic medalist Andrew Steele knows that our current knowledge about genetics isn't enough to give complete predictions about health.
Nevertheless the company where he is Head of Product, DNAFit, is one of a number of organizations drawing on genetic data to give customers advice about their diet and exercise regimen. For £249 for the complete package, it uses a customer's DNA sample to create a personalized profile which provides diet and training advice that it believes best suits them, according to some limited genetic studies.
"There’s no scientific proof that this can be a prediction — it’s just learning more about you so you can better reach your goal," Steele told Business Insider.
Speaking on the concept of DNA testing, Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition and public health at New York University, told Business Insider reporter Kevin Loria, "The tests are fun but their usefulness has yet to be shown," adding, "I'd rather spend the money on good dinners."
A position paper from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offered the same sentiment, stating: "The use of nutrigenetic testing to provide dietary advice is not ready for routine dietetics practice."
Nevertheless, DNAFit has worked with several high-profile clients such as Greg Rutherford and the Egyptian National Football team. It's also used by trainers at some David Lloyd gyms, and the company is an official wellness provider for employees of LinkedIn.
Still, Steele said the core of its business is now "ordinary consumers who take the DNA swab test at home."
With that in mind, we tried it out. Scroll down to see how the process went.
I'm Ali, Business Insider UK's Lifestyle Editor. I'm pretty interested in everything health and fitness, so when DNAFit, the company that uses DNA samples to produce personalized exercise and nutrition reports based on a person's genetic makeup, offered me a free trial of its services, I happily obliged.
After making a profile on the DNAFIt website, I was sent a kit that looked like this.
It contained a swab pack with clear instructions, along with some information on the company, privacy, and code of practice.
I took a sample of my saliva from my inner cheek, and sent it back to the lab. It takes around 10 business days to process, according to the company, though mine was a bit shorter.
While dietitians say that genetic testing that aims to provide dietary advice isn't ready for routine use, DNAFit claims that its tests pass a "strict inclusion protocol" and any advice they give has a corresponding "modifiable lifestyle change you can make."
When my results were ready, I got an email.
I received what looked like pretty comprehensive reports on both nutrition and exercise — a package that normally costs £249 — as well as a detailed overview presented in an infographic. It was a hard to interpret, however.