What is the reliability of genetic tests in determining nutritional needs?

The purpose of this article is to examine the accuracy of genetic testing in determining nutritional requirements. In my role as a nutritionist and registered dietitian, I'll explain why genetic tests are important. Then, give practical tips on how to use genetic testing to determine nutritional needs.

It is important to understand the reliability of genetic tests in nutrition

Genes play an important role in our well-being and health. Our genes can influence how susceptible we are to diseases, our ability to metabolize nutrients and our eating habits. Recently, there's been a growing interest in genetic testing to customize individual diets. This field is called nutrigenomics.

It's important to know the accuracy of these tests. Unreliable tests can lead to unhealthy eating habits and disease. A test that is unreliable may lead to unneeded dietary restrictions, or even promote unhealthy eating habits. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that while some tests showed promise, other have little evidence to support them and are not as reliable.

What you need to know before getting started

It's important to note a few points if you are considering genetic testing as a way of getting dietary guidance. Consult a medical professional or certified genetic counselor prior to undergoing genetic testing. While genetic testing may provide useful insights, they should not be used to replace the traditional methods of diet assessment and counseling. According to the World Health Organization, a balanced diet and a varied variety of foods, physical activity and maintaining a healthy body weight remain fundamental for good health.

Genetic Testing in Nutrition: Examples of Reliable Genetic Tests

Other Tips

Remember that genetic testing can give you some insight into what your nutritional requirements may be, but they're only one part of the equation. Your overall diet is influenced by a variety of factors including your lifestyle, environment, personal tastes, and preferences. Before making major changes in your diet, it's best to speak to a dietitian or healthcare professional.


While genetic testing can provide valuable insight into nutritional requirements, its reliability is variable. Nutrigenomics continues to evolve, so more research is required. It is important to view genetic testing as a tool within a comprehensive nutrition strategy.