Can genetic-based advice help you lose weight? Findings from the Food4Me European randomized controlled trial Academic Article uri icon


  • Background: There has been limited evidence about whether genotype-tailored advice provides extra benefits in reducing obesity-related traits compared with the benefits of conventional one-size-fits-all advice.Objective: We determined whether the disclosure of information on fat-mass and obesity-associated (FTO) genotype risk had a greater effect on a reduction of obesity-related traits in risk carriers than in nonrisk carriers across different levels of personalized nutrition.Design: A total of 683 participants (women: 51%; age range: 18-73 y) from the Food4Me randomized controlled trial were included in this analysis. Participants were randomly assigned to 4 intervention arms as follows: level 0, control group; level 1, dietary group; level 2, phenotype group; and level 3, genetic group. FTO (single nucleotide polymorphism rs9939609) was genotyped at baseline in all participants, but only subjects who were randomly assigned to level 3 were informed about their genotypes. Level 3 participants were stratified into risk carriers (AA/AT) and nonrisk carriers (TT) of the FTO gene for analyses. Height, weight, and waist circumference (WC) were self-measured and reported at baseline and months 3 and 6.Results: Changes in adiposity markers were greater in participants who were informed that they carried the FTO risk allele (level 3 AT/AA carriers) than in the nonpersonalized group (level 0) but not in the other personalized groups (level 1 and 2). Mean reductions in weight and WC at month 6 were greater for FTO risk carriers than for noncarriers in the level 3 group [-2.28 kg (95% CI: -3.06, -1.48 kg) compared with -1.99 kg (-2.19, -0.19 kg), respectively (P = 0.037); and -4.34 cm (-5.63, -3.08 cm) compared with -1.99 cm (-4.04, -0.05 cm), respectively, (P = 0.048)].Conclusions: There are greater body weight and WC reductions in risk carriers than in nonrisk carriers of the FTO gene. This trial was registered at as NCT01530139.


  • Celis-Morales, Carlos
  • Marsaux, Cyril FM
  • Livingstone, Katherine M
  • Navas-Carretero, Santiago
  • San-Cristobal, Rodrigo
  • Fallaize, Rosalind
  • Macready, Anna L
  • O’Donovan, Clare
  • Woolhead, Clara
  • Forster, Hannah
  • Kolossa, Silvia
  • Daniel, Hannelore
  • Moschonis, George
  • Mavrogianni, Christina
  • Manios, Yannis
  • Surwillo, Agnieszka
  • Traczyk, Iwona
  • Drevon, Christian A
  • Grimaldi, Keith
  • Bouwman, Jildau
  • Gibney, Mike J
  • Walsh, Marianne C
  • Gibney, Eileen R
  • Brennan, Lorraine
  • Lovegrove, Julie A
  • Martinez, J Alfredo
  • Saris, Wim HM
  • Mathers, John C

publication date

  • 2017

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