Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Nutritional Genomics

Published:January 17, 2014DOI:


      It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that nutritional genomics provides insight into how diet and genotype interactions affect phenotype. The practical application of nutritional genomics for complex chronic disease is an emerging science and the use of nutrigenetic testing to provide dietary advice is not ready for routine dietetics practice. Registered dietitian nutritionists need basic competency in genetics as a foundation for understanding nutritional genomics; proficiency requires advanced knowledge and skills. Unlike single-gene defects in which a mutation in a single gene results in a specific disorder, most chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer are multigenetic and multifactorial and therefore genetic mutations are only partially predictive of disease risk. Family history, biochemical parameters, and the presence of risk factors in individuals are relevant tools for personalizing dietary interventions. Direct-to-consumer genetic testing is not closely regulated in the United States and may not be accompanied by access to health care practitioners. Applying nutritional genomics in clinical practice through the use of genetic testing requires that registered dietitian nutritionists understand, interpret, and communicate complex test results in which the actual risk of developing a disease may not be known. The practical application of nutritional genomics in dietetics practice will require an evidence-based approach to validate that personalized recommendations result in health benefits to individuals and do not cause harm.
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