Muhdo speaks with sports nutritionist Lucy Ellis MSc on all things diet and fat loss!

Diet, Nutrition and DNA with Chris Collins and Lucy Ellis..

What can a DNA based diet actually help with? Discussion with Sports Nutritionist Lucy Ellis.

Posted by Muhdo on Monday, 8 October 2018

What is the most important aspect to a successful fat loss?

Calorie deficit that you can maintain and adhere to and then knowing when to stop and moving more

Why do people often regain weigh after they have lost it?

Comes down to a diet being too hard. Being over restricted on an unsustainable diet will ultimately result in failure. Dieting for too long, without a break increases our cortisol and leads to excess inflammation. The body wants to be in homeostasis and in order to achieve this it goes through phases when we diet. Through underfeeding, cortisol is increased, insulin is decreased, catecholamines are decreased, protein synthesis and muscle mass are decreased.  And even our thyroid levels are decreased (the conversion rate of T4 to T3 becomes inhibited slightly). To top this off, our hunger hormones leptin decrease whereas ghrelin increases. Ghrelin stimulates an appetite and hunger, and leptin should tell us when we are full after a meal. After dieting, ghrelin levels remain high throughout the day and leptin never peaks after the meal which can lead to overfeeding. There is also evidence that after dieting, our body stores excess calories in fat cells incase of another “starvation”. This is a very roundabout sentence and word that is overused in the fitness industry and in biological terms isn’t fully true as the body simply adapts metabolic rate to a new homeostasis.

Weight increase is a natural process following dieting, which can be caused from an increase in water, glycogen repletion (including in the liver and intramuscular) and increases in fat. Micronutrient deficiency accrued during periods of prolonged calorie restriction may be a large contributing factor in part due to alterations in signalling hormones that drive appetite, metabolism & fat deposition. If you’re entering your dieting phase with in excess of 20-30kg to lose. This phase will be prolonged & aggressive. What we have to remember is it may take a year to gain a significant amount of weight; it is safer and more a more adhered to way, to take a year to reduce that weight back down. So what’s the science say. Very few studies available on the impact of dieting in female body builders. However, among overweight or obese men & women, long-term use of multivitamins, vitamins B6 and B12, and chromium were significantly associated with decreased levels of weight gain post diet. (Nachtigal et al 2005) Population groups different but physiology essentially remains the same. There’s also a strong argument for ensuring adequate intake of micronutrients from food or via supplementation while dieting & competing to prevent excessive rebounds.
This is all down to poor nutritional status when dieting. If we diet correctly, using a slow sustainable approach, we not only change our body, but also our mindset and give our bodies a chance to adapt. We then come into a new state of homeostasis.


How can DNA help personalise a diet plan

Our body is programmed to respond a certain way to anything and everything. Whether that is what we eat, how we move and train etc. If we know our bodies’ response to carbohydrates, fat, and protein then we can create a nutritional plan to match our goals. Our bodies are individual in how they absorb, metabolise and assimilate and store the food we eat. You can take the trial and error out of dieting and get straight into a nutrition plan that is tailor made and works for you.


DNA is linked to certain deficient risks in vitamins and minerals. How would this alter a diet plan?

Nutritional deficiencies can cause fatigue, low bone mineral density, mood swings and hormonal issues. Vitamins and minerals are also essential for the production of gonadotropin hormones, and estrogen and testosterone.

A lot of vitamins and minerals are cofactors for the production of adrenal hormones, thyroid hormones, pineal gland, hypothalamic pituitary axis, and even immune system hormones in the body. B vitamins are important as in nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and CoA, which are involved in oxidation reactions. Magnesium is used in DNA replication. Calcium needed to structure of bones. And need vitamin D to help the metabolism of calcium.

Iodine for thyroid etc. The list goes on…

A recent meta-analysis by Engel 2018 published in NUTRIENT journal has looked at micronutrient gaps in weight loss diet plans. Found nutritional deficiencies in them all. Because these were general diet plans, and not tailored to an individual.

Depending on someone’s dietary choice, we may have to alter diet by adding or replacing foods, or using supplements. A high or low fat diet alters the absorption of water or fat soluble vitamins. People might not like certain foods which contain the vitamin and mineral they are deficient in, so you will have to use supplements. Everything becomes very individual. Commonly we are deficient in, iron, calcium, vitamin D3 and K2, vitamin A and iodine.

As mentioned before, nutritional deficiencies, especially in micronutrients can cause us to gain a lot of bad weight after a diet. Technically, we don’t want to keep yo-yo dieting anyway, but what we do need to ensure is that our body is healthy on the outside and on the inside.