Watch CBS News

'One Size Fits All' Not For Dieting

NEW YORK (CBS 2) – When Sharon Lewinter weighed 190 pounds, she tried every fad diet out there with little success. She just couldn't shed the pounds.

"I was very sad. I didn't like being that way. I had no energy and anxiety about it," Lewinter said.

She's far from alone. Nearly 95 percent of all dieters give up before reaching their ultimate goal, but weight loss experts believe the problem isn't with the dieters themselves, but with their choice of diet, reports CBS 2's Kristine Johnson.

Instead of the "one size fits all" diet plan, new research suggests that diets should actually be customized and geared specifically to an individual's genetic make-up.

"It's a very simple system," said Dr. Peter D'Adamo, a diet guru and naturopathic physician.

D'Adamo found that people digest foods differently according to blood type.

If you're a type O, he said, you're genetically predisposed to digestion problems with certain foods like wheat and should therefore eat a diet higher in protein. Type A's should avoid certain proteins and opt for vegetarian fare, and Type B's should avoid foods like corn and chicken.

That's why Lewinter had problems with her diet.

"When I heard that concept I thought, oh, that makes sense, like it makes sense why when I was trying the Atkins and it didn't work for me, it worked for most of my friends," said Lewinter, who has the blood type A-B.

When she found out her blood type, she learned that a high protein diet, like Atkins, was actually the worst way to lose weight for her type and she changed her diet.

A year later, she weighed 120 pounds.

"I feel more energetic than when I was in high school actually," Lewinter said.

The blood type diet isn't the only personalized diet. People interested in losing weight can also start a new diet based on the results of a DNA test.

"The key with this test is that out of the literally hundreds of genes that have been studied relative to weight gain and obesity, this test involves four well-documented genes where the science is very, very strong," according to DNA testing company Interleukin Genetics.

Those genes influence metabolism and show scientists how the body processes foods like carbohydrates and fats.

With that information, Louis Denome was able to find the right diet after struggling time after time to lose weight and keep off the pounds.

"I'd lose 20 pounds and in two months put it back on," Denome said.

After the DNA test, the lab recommends one of three diets: low carb, low fat or a combination of the two.

For Denome, it became a carb-reducing diet combined with high intensity exercise.

"Oh no," Denome said. "My worst fear came alive."

While genetic make-up may be the key to actual weightloss, experts say that any healthy diet should include diet and exercise.

"How much do my family history and my genes play in my ability to lose weight?" nutritionist Madelyn Fernstrom said. "The answer is it plays a little part, for some people more than others."

Experts are also using things like fingerprint analysis and leg length measurements to help customize diets based on genetic type.

For more information on the importance of different types of diets, please click here.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.