Should you take a diet test?

In all things nutrition, health, and performance, customization is critical. No two bodies are the same and no two diets should be either.

“We're done with general dietary guidelines that are for everybody,” says Deanna Minich, Ph.D., Seattle, WA–based author of The Rainbow Diet and member of the Equinox Health Advisory Board. That’s why the latest innovations in personalized nutrition—blood, genetic, and gut microbiome tests—are so alluring.

For example, Habit sends dieters an at-home test to swab their cheeks for DNA and prick their finger for blood before and after consuming a specialized drink so that scientists can zone in on personalized diet recommendations.

Nutrigenomix similarly tests saliva samples to recommend DNA-based nutritional approaches, and 23andMe has expanded its genetic testing options to include insights on how to personalize your diet and fitness based on genetic variants.

Meanwhile, Viome has testers send in stool samples to receive advice on what foods to indulge in, enjoy, minimize, and avoid. uBiome is another company that studies the bacteria of the gut to give nutrition advice.

“Unfortunately, it's still too early to say that any combination of physiological markers alone can generate the perfect diet,” says John Berardi, Ph.D., co-founder of Precision Nutrition. “However, it's going to be interesting to track research developments and watch progress being made.”

Stay alert for advances in the field. As the popularity of personalized nutrition grows, so will the research—and potential.

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This hearty meal features a bevy of fresh and cooked vegetables.