Genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data are now quickly and inexpensively acquired, raising the prospect of creating personalized dietary recommendations based on an individual’s genetic variability at multiple SNPs. However, relatively little is known about most specific gene–diet interactions, and many molecular and clinical phenotypes of interest (e.g., body mass index [BMI]) involve multiple genes. In this review, we discuss direct to consumer genetic testing (DTC-GT) and the current potential for precision nutrition based on an individual’s genetic data. We review important issues such as dietary exposure and genetic architecture addressing the concepts of penetrance, pleiotropy, epistasis, polygenicity, and epigenetics. More specifically, we discuss how they complicate using genotypic data to predict phenotypes as well as response to dietary interventions. Then, several examples (including caffeine sensitivity, alcohol dependence, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, obesity/appetite, cardiovascular, Alzheimer’s disease, folate metabolism, long-chain fatty acid biosynthesis, and vitamin D metabolism) are provided illustrating how genotypic information could be used to inform nutritional recommendations. We conclude by examining ethical considerations and practical applications for using genetic information to inform dietary choices and the future role genetics may play in adopting changes beyond population-wide healthy eating guidelines.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited