U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government


Main content area

Effect of Incorporating Genetic Testing Results into Nutrition Counseling and Care on Dietary Intake: An Evidence Analysis Center Systematic Review—Part I

Robinson, Katie, Rozga, Mary, Braakhuis, Andrea, Ellis, Amy, Monnard, Cathriona R., Sinley, Rachel, Wanner, Amanda, Vargas, Ashley J.
Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2021 v.121 no.3 pp. 553-581.e3
added sugars, alcohols, caffeine, databases, diet counseling, dietetics, energy, food composition, food groups, food intake, genes, genetic testing, genetic variation, nutrition assessment, nutrition education, patients, population characteristics, randomized clinical trials, sample size, sodium, systematic review
Consumer interest in personalized nutrition based on nutrigenetic testing is growing. Recently, multiple, randomized controlled trials have sought to understand whether incorporating genetic information into dietary counseling alters dietary outcomes. The objective of this systematic review was to examine how incorporating genetic information into nutrition counseling and care, compared to an alternative intervention or control group, impacts dietary outcomes. This is the first of a 2-part systematic review series. Part II reports anthropometric, biochemical, and disease-specific outcomes. Peer-reviewed randomized controlled trials were identified through a systematic literature search of multiple databases, screened for eligibility, and critically reviewed and synthesized. Conclusion statements were graded to determine quality of evidence for each dietary outcome reported. Reported outcomes include intake of total energy and macronutrients, micronutrients, foods, food groups, food components (added sugar, caffeine, and alcohol), and composite diet scores. Ten articles representing 8 unique randomized controlled trials met inclusion criteria. Of 15 conclusion statements (evidence grades: Weak to Moderate), 13 concluded there was no significant effect of incorporating genetic information into nutrition counseling/care on dietary outcomes. Limited data suggested that carriers of higher-risk gene variants were more likely than carriers of low-risk gene variants to significantly reduce intake of sodium and alcohol in response to nutrition counseling that incorporated genetic results. Included studies differed in quality, selected genetic variants, timing and intensity of intervention, sample size, dietary assessment tools, and population characteristics. Therefore, strong conclusions could not be drawn. Collaboration between the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and professional nutrigenetic societies would likely prove valuable in prioritizing which genetic variants and targeted nutrition messages have the most potential to alter dietary outcomes in a given patient subpopulation and, thus, should be the targets of future research.