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Optimize Your Macronutrients with Your Genetics


One of the most foundational considerations in creating a personalized diet is how your body responds to the macronutrients—carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. By unraveling the mysteries encoded within our unique genes, we can discover valuable insights for tailoring our diets for optimal health and well-being.

In this article, you’ll discover specific genetic single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and what they may reveal about your macronutrient needs.

Optimize Your Macronutrients With Your Genetics

By; Kelley Herring

The Genetic Blueprint of Macronutrient Metabolism

Our genes are like a blueprint that guides our bodies in every aspect of life, including how we metabolize macronutrients.

While hundreds of genes influence our dietary responses, let’s focus on the key SNPs and what they tell us about selecting our macronutrients.

FTO Gene and Carbohydrate Sensitivity

The FTO gene is often associated with body weight and obesity risk. Certain variants of this gene are linked to a higher sensitivity to dietary carbohydrates. Individuals with these variants may find that they have a stronger tendency to gain weight when consuming a diet rich in carbohydrates.1

APOA2 Gene and Fat Metabolism

The APOA2 gene is related to the metabolism of dietary fats. Variants of this gene can affect how efficiently your body processes fats. Some variants may predispose individuals to greater weight gain when consuming a high-fat diet, while others may not experience the same impact.2

PPAR Alpha Gene and Protein Utilization

The PPAR alpha gene plays a role in the utilization of dietary proteins. Certain variants of this gene may affect how efficiently your body processes and utilizes dietary protein. Understanding your specific PPAR alpha genotype can help you optimize your protein intake for muscle maintenance and overall health.3


Optimizing Your Diet Based on Genetic Insights

Now that you’ve discovered the key genetic SNPs related to macronutrient metabolism let’s take a look at how you can use this knowledge to optimize your diet.

Carbohydrate Sensitivity and the FTO Gene

If you carry variants of the FTO gene associated with carbohydrate sensitivity, consider the following dietary adjustments:

  1. Slow-Burning Carbohydrates: Research suggests that individuals with certain FTO gene variants may be more prone to overeating high-calorie, carbohydrate-rich foods. Slow digesting carbs with a lower glycemic index, such as above-ground vegetables and organic berries – provide sustained energy and may help regulate blood sugar levels.4
  2. Portion Control: Be mindful of carbohydrate portion sizes. Smaller, balanced servings can help manage calorie intake and reduce the risk of weight gain in those with carbohydrate sensitivity.5
  3. Regular Physical Activity: Engaging in regular physical activity is a great lifestyle strategy for everyone, and it can be especially important for individuals with FTO gene variants. Physical activity can enhance carbohydrate utilization and improve insulin sensitivity, which may be particularly important for those with a genetic predisposition to obesity.6

Fat Metabolism and the APOA2 Gene

If your genetic profile indicates that you have variants of the APOA2 gene associated with fat sensitivity, consider these dietary strategies:

  1. High-Quality Fats & Optimized Omegas: If your genetic profile indicates that you have variants of the APOA2 gene associated with fat sensitivity, emphasize foods that are rich in monounsaturated and omega-3 fats including: wild fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon, halibut), pasture-raised pork and poultry, grass-fed beef, extra virgin olive oil, and avocados.7 It is important to keep a close eye on your intake of inflammatory omega-6 fats (like those from vegetable and seed oils) as these fats, in excess, promote inflammation, increasing the health risks for APOA2 gene variants.8,9
  2. Moderate & Monitor: With these variants, you may be more sensitive overall to fat intake. Track your overall fat intake to analyze how different types and amounts of fats impact you.

Protein Utilization and the PPAR Alpha Gene

For individuals with specific PPAR alpha gene variants, optimizing protein intake is key:

  1. Digestible Proteins: Remember, it’s not what you eat, it’s what you absorb that counts! Choosing proteins that are more readily digestible, for example – slow cooked or pressure-cooked meats, high-collagen broths, eggs and fish – will help ensure you process and absorb your protein efficiently.10
  2. Adequate Protein Intake: Ensure you are getting an adequate amount of protein to support muscle maintenance, especially if you engage in regular physical activity.

Your Personalized Approach to Macronutrients

With the intersection of genetics and nutrition, we now have an opportunity to optimize our diets in ways that were once unimaginable.

By understanding your unique genetic makeup and the SNPs that influence macronutrient metabolism, you can make informed choices that support your health and well-being for the long term.

Remember – while genetics provide valuable insights, they are just one piece of the puzzle. Your overall diet, lifestyle, and health goals should guide your dietary decisions. Consulting with a personalized nutrition specialist can help clarify your genetic profile and how to tailor your diet effectively.

With this personalized approach, you’ll embark on a journey toward a healthier, happier you—one genetic variant at a time.

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Our website,, houses fantastic options for optimizing your nutrient consumption. And, if you’re looking for more inspiration, we highly recommend checking out our Discover Blog. Happy exploring!

kelley herring

Kelley Herring

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  1. Frayling, T. M., Timpson, N. J., Weedon, M. N., et al. (2007). A common variant in the FTO gene is associated with body mass index and predisposes to childhood and adult obesity. Science, 316(5826), 889-894.
  2. Corella, D., Peloso, G., Arnett, D. K., et al. (2007). APOA2, dietary fat, and body mass index: replication of a gene-diet interaction in 3 independent populations. Archives of Internal Medicine, 168(10), 2181-2187.
  3. Desvergne, B., & Wahli, W. (1999). Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors: nuclear control of metabolism. Endocrine Reviews, 20(5), 649-688.
  4. Turkoz, H., Oung, S., & Var, A. (2012). Association of FTO gene polymorphisms with energy and macronutrient intake in obesity and type 2 diabetes. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 95(6), 1412-1419
  5. Heitmann, B. L., Stroger, U., & Mikkelsen, K. L. (2010). Larger food portion sizes are associated with both overweight and obesity in the FTO gene variant. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 64(1), 16-19.
  6. Vimaleswaran, K. S., et al. (2012). Physical activity attenuates the body mass index-increasing influence of genetic variation in the FTO gene. PLoS Medicine, 9(1), e1001116.
  7. Smith, C. E., et al. (2012). Apolipoprotein A-II polymorphism and response to a high-fat diet. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 86(3), 598-606
  8. Calder, P. C. (2002). Dietary arachidonic acid: harmful, harmless, or helpful? British Journal of Nutrition, 87(5), 417-432.
  9. Qi, L., et al. (2012). Genetic risk, adherence to a healthy lifestyle, and coronary disease. Circulation, 126(9), 10-1016.
  10. Liu Y, Li F, He L, Tan B, Deng J, Kong X, Li Y, Geng M, Yin Y, Wu G. Dietary protein intake affects expression of genes for lipid metabolism in porcine skeletal muscle in a genotype-dependent manner. Br J Nutr. 2015 Apr 14;113(7):1069-77. doi: 10.1017/S0007114514004310. Epub 2015 Mar 16. PMID: 25771944.