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How Does DNA Testing For Weight Management Work?

By Stephanie E - Jenny Craig

Reviewed by Briana Rodriquez, R.D.


This article is intended for educational purposes only. As more research is being conducted, further information about genetics and weight loss is still being discovered.  

If you’re considering starting a weight loss program or changing your diet in the quest for better health: You’re not alone. More than one in three people in the United States follows a diet or eating pattern, according to the International Food Information Council Foundation.1 But despite their efforts, many people still have trouble losing weight, often for a variety of reasons. That’s where DNA testing for weight management comes in. When your goal is to lose weight, DNA testing for weight loss can be used as a tool to support healthy weight loss. Here’s how DNA testing for weight loss may help to demystify common weight loss problems, plus, a detailed look at how Jenny Craig’s DNA Decoder Plan works.


Update: We have paused our weight loss insights plan for now. In the meantime, stay healthy and check out our new meal delivery options.

Common weight loss concerns

Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

tape measure on white backgroundMany individuals encounter similar struggles after beginning their weight loss journeys: They might not like the food they’re eating, or they might get frustrated when the scale isn’t budging (or moving in the wrong direction!). Other times, they might question the speed of their metabolism and find themselves overindulging because their diet was too strict. 

Some weight loss programs may be too time-intensive, involving hours of grocery shopping, meal prep and cooking; others require dieters to track their days in painstaking detail, from calorie amounts to minutes of exercise. Trusted weight loss programs, like Jenny Craig, provide healthy, premade meals that can help save time — and can even get delivered right to your door

With the recent advances in genetic testing for weight loss, healthy approaches to losing weight are becoming more advanced. Now, it’s easier than ever to discover your likelihood of experiencing challenges like these and to learn what you can do about them.

How DNA testing could help with weight loss

DNA testing for weight loss delves deeper than a traditional one-size-fits-all weight loss approach by examining your unique DNA. A weight loss plan that’s tailored to your DNA test results, like Jenny Craig’s DNA Decoder Plan, may boost your efforts to lose weight by helping you to understand the genetic tendencies that might be holding you back — and which ones you can use to your advantage. 

The DNA Decoder Plan adds additional benefits to Jenny Craig’s Rapid Results program, which was developed using the science behind your body’s natural circadian rhythms to support healthy, effective weight loss. The DNA Decoder Plan makes it easier to navigate the complex world of weight loss, one genetic marker at a time.

Here’s what the DNA Decoder Plan can tell you about weight loss

So, what are genetic markers and how are they used to help with weight loss? A genetic marker tells scientists where a DNA sequence is located on each chromosome.2 (Confused about DNA and genetics? Don’t worry, it’s complex! Learn the basics with our Genetics 101 Guide.) 

All humans share the same genes, but not all genes are expressed, or “turned on.” Everyone has a unique set of genetic markers that are expressed differently. For example, if your DNA Decoder Plan results reveal that you’re likely to regain weight, that doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. Although your DNA could indicate a tendency to regain weight, that may not happen — as your environment and lifestyle factors play a role as well. However, with this knowledge, you can take the steps you need to live a healthier lifestyle.

The DNA Decoder Plan focuses on 15 genetic markers that may affect weight loss. These are some of the DNA Decoder Plan markers and what you can expect to learn from them.

How your body processes carbohydrates, fats and protein

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pesto pasta on salad with tomatoesEver wonder how the foods you eat could affect your body? Carbs, fat and protein are the three macronutrients your body needs for energy. Getting the right amount of macronutrients in your diet could help support your health. You’ll find out how effectively your body processes each of these nutrients, along with healthy options to try. You’ll also receive a recommended meal plan, designed to work optimally with your unique results and help to maximize your weight loss efforts.

What science says: Some genotypes may be more efficient at processing specific macronutrients than others, which may contribute to weight loss. 

In one study, individuals with a certain genotype who followed a low-calorie, high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet were able to improve their body composition and reduce visceral fat around the abdomen.3 In a separate study, individuals with a different genotype were able to reduce body adiposity by enjoying a low-fat diet.4 Another study found that individuals with a specific genotype, when placed on a high-protein diet, showed a greater reduction in whole body total fat mass, compared to those who followed a low-protein diet.5

Your metabolism efficiency

Your metabolism is the result of many complex chemical reactions within each of your cells and helps to turn what you eat into energy. Your resting metabolic rate is the number of calories your body burns while it’s at rest. This DNA marker outlines how likely your body is to respond to healthy eating habits and exercise, along with easy tips to support your metabolism.  

What science says: The resting metabolic rate (how many calories the body burns at rest) makes up about 70% of energy expenditure in people with sedentary lifestyles.6 Research suggests certain genes may influence your resting metabolic rate and may be linked to obesity.6 But don’t worry: Jenny Craig’s plan comes with an action plan to keep your metabolism humming — no matter your metabolism’s efficiency. 



Your sleep quality

If you can’t get through the night without tossing and turning, it could be affecting your weight loss. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.7 This DNA marker will explain your likelihood of getting quality sleep, plus helpful tips to get a good night’s rest.

What science says: While certain genes may influence your sleep duration,8 environmental factors play a larger role when it comes to getting quality zzz’s. Too little sleep may result in overeating,9 and may even increase cravings for high-calorie foods.10 Practicing sleep hygiene, also known as good sleep habits, can help you get the rest your body needs. 

Your overweight risk

Your behavior, environment and genetics all play a part in your overweight risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.11 This DNA marker will tell you your likelihood of becoming overweight as an adult and offers examples of healthy lifestyle changes you can start making right away.

What science says: Some genes may be associated with increased odds of being overweight.12 Body mass index (BMI) is often used as a tool to help determine if someone could be considered overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.13 However, your lifestyle plays a much larger role when it comes to your overweight risk. 

Weight loss-specific behaviors

You’ll also get insight into several DNA markers related to weight loss, including how your body responds to certain types of exercise, if you’re prone to overeating, how likely you are to feel satisfied after a meal, and more. Plus, you’ll learn simple ways to develop healthier eating and exercise habits to help support your weight loss.

What science says: There are a variety of genes that may be associated with different behaviors linked to weight loss. For example, individuals with a certain gene may lose more weight following a cardio exercise program, compared to others.14

If you’re struggling to lose weight, DNA testing for weight management paired with a top-ranked weight loss program, like Jenny Craig,15 could make all the difference. Using helpful tips and a scientific approach to weight loss, Jenny Craig’s DNA Decoder Plan will provide specific insights to help support a healthier lifestyle.
With the DNA Decoder Plan, you’ll receive all the benefits of the Rapid Results program, plus:

  • Detailed insights into your weight loss tendencies
  • Weight loss-related genetic markers — and what they mean
  • Easy-to-follow strategies to support your weight loss goals
  • Access to a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for nutrition and weight loss advice


Update: We have paused our weight loss insights plan for now. In the meantime, stay healthy and check out our new meal delivery options.



[1] https://foodinsight.org/one-third-of-americans-are-dieting-including-one-in-10-who-fast-while-consumers-also-hunger-for-organic-natural-and-sustainable/

[2] https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Genetic-Marker

[3] https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/39/11/1909

[4] https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/96/5/1129/4577058

[5] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41366-018-0046-9

[7] https://www.sleepfoundation.org/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-recommends-new-sleep-times
[8] https://www.nature.com/articles/mp2014133
[9] https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/91/6/1550/4597153
[10] https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms3259
[11] https://www.cdc.gov/genomics/resources/diseases/obesity/index.htm
[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2646098/
[13] https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/defining.html

[14] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11509533
[15] https://www.jennycraig.com/corporate/news/jenny-craig-ranked-among-best-diets-us-news-world-report-ninth-consecutive-year


Stephanie Eng-Aponte

Stephanie Eng Aponte, Copywriter at Jenny Craig
Stephanie Eng-Aponte is a copywriter for Jenny Craig and has written for the health and wellness, tech, and environmental industries. Stephanie graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Media Studies. They employ an “eat first, write later” approach to food blogging and enjoy the occasional Oxford comma. Outside of writing, you can find them photographing a muttley crew of rescue pups, brewing kombucha, or exploring San Diego.

Favorite healthy snack: green apple slices with sunflower butter



Reviewed by Briana Rodriquez, RDN

Briana Rodriquez, RDN at Jenny Craig
Briana is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, California. She is passionate about utilizing food as functional and preventative medicine. Guided by a simplistic and optimistic approach, Briana’s philosophy is to help people improve their health and achieve their goals through the development of sustainable habits to live a healthy life. In her free time, you can find her strength training, indoor cycling, coffee tasting, and at local eateries with her husband and two dogs. 


Favorite healthy snack: peanut butter with celery alongside a grapefruit-flavored sparkling water (so refreshing!) 



This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and was written by an experienced health and lifestyle contributor and fact-checked by Briana Rodriquez, RDN, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Jenny Craig.


Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy. 


This article contains trusted sources including scientific, peer-reviewed papers. All references are hyperlinked at the end of the article to take readers directly to the source. 



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