The NJ Diet might claim to use nutrigenomics or the study of how your genetics influence your dietary requirements, but how effective can this really be? Is it safe?
And how do you even go about losing weight through genetic testing in the first place? Let’s take a closer look at what the NJ Diet can offer and why it might not be such a good idea after all.
What is the NJ Diet?
The New Jersey diet is a medically supervised regimen that purports to be nutrigenomic in nature. Nutrigenomics is a word that has been around for a while but gained popularity in 2009 when researchers in the United Kingdom were able to figure out how specific genes affect our nutritional demands.
If you've ever taken an online quiz or read up on diets and nutrition, you've undoubtedly seen information regarding how some meals perform better for certain people than others.
This is due to Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), which are variations in our body's genes and gene products that lead us to digest meals differently.
What is a DNA Based Diet Plan?
DNA Based diet plans claim to be able to predict your dietary needs based on your genetic makeup. While it might seem logical that our genetics would play a role in how we respond to food, there’s no evidence of such a relationship in humans (and several studies have shown that people actually do better when fed personalized diets).
Even more importantly, these programs are unproven and unregulated, which means there’s no way to tell if they’re safe. Don’t risk harming yourself by following an unproven diet plan—even if it promises results!
The program recommends that all participants undergo a genetic test for food intolerances before starting their journey.
Your unique DNA makeup will determine your ideal diet and nutrition plan, so it’s crucial to be tested prior to any diet plan.
They use DNA testing from a lab called Nutrigenomix which claims to provide accurate personalized nutrition guidance based on your unique genetics.
The company also offers a full refund if customers are unsatisfied after 90 days of following its recommendations.
Who Should Follow the NJ Diet Plan?
If you’re genetically susceptible to inflammation, which some studies suggest is a precursor to obesity and diabetes, then following a diet based on your unique needs might help curb your cravings and control your hunger.
With that said, some experts question whether it’s safe for everyone to follow these kinds of programs because they can lack much-needed nutrients if food groups are completely cut out of your diet.
If your family has a history of eating disorders or disordered eating patterns (which can often be genetically inherited), it’s best to seek help from a medical professional before starting any kind of medically supervised program.
Even more so if there is ever an instance where blood work results show dangerous levels of electrolytes or low amounts of essential vitamins and minerals.
How Does The NJ Diet Work?
Although most people are unfamiliar with nutrigenomics, experts say it's only a matter of time before nutrigenomics goes mainstream.
The idea behind nutrigenomics is that we all have different nutritional needs, and those needs change based on our genes and personal histories.
This is why some people can live off of fast food while others need to follow a strict diet to avoid health problems.
In fact, one study published in The New England Journal of Medicine looked at an overweight woman who followed a strict diet for six months and lost close to 25 pounds only to gain back every pound she'd lost when she stopped eating a special high-protein diet.
Does it work for weight loss?
This is a good question. The problem is that there are no clinical studies to indicate whether or not it works.
This doesn't mean it won't work for you, but it might not be effective for everyone. So if you're considering it as an option, think about how well your body responds to diet changes and other variables before committing to anything long-term.
For example, do your drop pounds quickly when trying a new diet plan?
Or does your body seem to fight losing weight unless given guidance through a doctor or nutritionist? Your response will help determine whether or not getting started with the NJ Diet is right for you.
Side effects of the NJ Diet
Most diets require discipline and hard work, but if that’s not your thing and you need to lose weight right now, check out The NJ Diet.
The company claims its diet is based on nutrigenomics, which means they tailor a custom plan to your specific genetic makeup. But while it might be a convenient solution for some people in need of quick results, there are some serious cons to consider before ordering any foods or supplements from them.
The main concern: There’s no scientific evidence behind nutrigenomics, not even proof that it exists! For all intents and purposes, nutrigenomics is just an unproven hypothesis about how foods can influence your body.
Negative effects of the NJ Diet
The program is medically supervised by registered dietitians and nurses. Participants eat four nutritionally balanced meals per day and are provided a list of approved foods that can be purchased from any grocery store.
The company provides participants will free gym memberships at local gyms, dietary supplements, and fitness trackers to make sure they have everything they need to achieve their desired weight loss goals.
In addition, they also offer medical coverage (including prescriptions) through MetLife during their time as an NJ diet member. Those who participate in the program have access to 24/7 live-chat support through an instant messaging platform on their website.
This means that members can reach out to one of their qualified experts whenever there is a problem or concern that needs immediate attention.
This diet prohibits all foods made with white flour, sugar, and wheat. In addition, it restricts fruit juices, alcohol, and caffeine. Food preparation is restricted to boiling and baking only.
Cooking oils are limited to extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil. Foods that may be eaten include fish (but not shellfish), eggs (2 per day) chicken (no skin or visible fat), green vegetables, carrots, lemons/limes, onions, and beans (only cooked).
This diet does not place restrictions on portion size; however, individuals are instructed to chew each bite at least 15 times before swallowing in order to better digest their food.
Is NJ Diet Safe?
The idea behind nutrigenomics is that our genes influence how we react to foods. The idea behind nutrigenomics is that our genes influence how we react to foods.
Studies have suggested some individuals may be more sensitive to carbohydrates and thus experience a greater spike in blood sugar levels after eating carbohydrates. Others may not tolerate lactose very well and thus find themselves bloated, gassy, or crampy when they eat dairy products. Nutrigenomics aims to help individuals tailor their diets accordingly.
My Experience With NJ Diet and NutriGenetic Testing
When I decided to try NutriGenetic testing and use it in conjunction with my own diet, I was looking for an easy, natural way to kick-start my metabolism and lose some of those extra pounds.
I had previously tried several diet programs like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, but nothing had worked for me long term.
When I found out about NutriGenetic testing on a forum online, I was excited because it sounded pretty scientific and claimed to be effective at helping people who are trying to lose weight.
When I looked into it further, I discovered that NutriGenetic claims that all of your meals should be based on a very specific calculation from a test where they determine what foods have high or low levels of vitamins and nutrients.
Does NutriGenetics Work?
We can’t answer whether or not NutriGenetics works, because there are no scientific studies that have been conducted on it to date. But we can say that if your genes DO impact your diet, it may help someone follow a low-calorie diet more easily.
They’ll know what foods to eat and which ones to avoid because of their genetic makeup. If nutrigenomics did work, here’s how it would work: specific combinations of amino acids will tell you that either carbohydrates or fats are fine for consumption but not both at once.
Cost Of NutriGenetics Vs. A Typical Weight Loss Program
The biggest concern for many potential dieters is whether or not nutrigenetics-based programs like The NJ Diet can actually produce meaningful results.
To understand that, we need to compare it to a more traditional method of losing weight. According to Consumer Reports, it costs $365-$1,500 to enroll in a typical commercial diet program. In comparison, NutriGenetics-based programs like The NJ Diet cost $2,000 per month, which is comparable and often more expensive than some traditional diet options.
With that said, however, many people end up wasting money on fad diets and do not stick with them long enough to see real results.
Final Thoughts On NJ Diet And NutriGenetics
You’ve probably heard of the 80/20 rule that 20 percent of what you do is responsible for 80 percent of your results.
Is it any surprise, then, that a healthy diet that takes into account personal genomics would lead to greater weight loss than a more generic diet plan?
For example, a NutriGenetics program could help identify individuals who are more likely to store fat in their abdominal region who would benefit from different dietary interventions than someone whose fat primarily accumulates around their hips.
Over time, a diet tailored to an individual’s particular needs could produce better results, for example, allowing someone on NutriGenetics to keep weight off after shedding 30 pounds as opposed to losing 30 pounds and regaining all 35 pounds within six months.
The diet is unreasonably costly, and very low-calorie diets, such as this one, may be harmful to your health. Even if you lose weight on the diet for a short period of time, you'll most likely gain it back once you resume your usual eating habits.
Overall, the NJ Diet is not the healthiest, most sustainable, safest, or least costly approach to reducing weight.