Is Your DNA Making You Fat? CAN'T SHIFT THOSE EXTRA POUNDS, DESPITE DIET AND EXERCISE? NEW RESEARCH SUGGESTS THE ANSWER COULD BE HIDDEN IN YOUR GENES. BY CAROLINE JONES

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Byline: CAROLINE JONES

Today is World DNA Day, celebrating the discovery 60 years ago of the unravelling of the structure of DNA, the basis of all life, which explains the small differences between us all - from eye colour to fingernail shape.

And now the latest research suggests your individual genetic coding doesn't just determine what you look like, it might also be the secret weapon when it comes to losing weight. So can we really blame weight gain on our genes?

Although all of us have similar make-ups, hundreds of thousands of tiny differences exist. These variations are what makes each of us unique - including how our bodies respond to different types of foods and exercise.

This is why two people following the same diet or exercise plan can end up with different results. In other words, it accounts for the annoying way your best friend shed two stone on the Dukan Diet, but when you tried it, those extra pounds stayed firmly put!

Scientists have even discovered a 'sweet tooth' gene that makes you predisposed to crave cakes and chocolate, which seems highly hly unfair to say the least.

But the good news is, as well as working against you when it comes to fighting the flab, your genes can also be utilised in your favour to help ensure better diet and exercise success.

How DNA dieting works

The discovery of thousands of new genes responsible for many different functions in the body, plus advances in DNA testing mean that, for the right price, it's now possible to have a bespoke diet and fitness plan created for you. It will be fine-tuned to work in harmony with every tiny quirk of your own metabolism.

The Nordiska diet was developed with the help of experts at Newcastle University and is based on the premise that genetic testing can determine the right food for your body type. These genes relate to how quickly an individual can metabolise fat and carbohydrate, appetite control and muscle activity.

And after a gene test, the individual is given one of four diet types: low in fat; low carb; low glycaemic or healthily balanced.

"The era of everyone following the same plan regardless of body shape, age, family history is gone," says Dr Daniel Meyersfeld, a scientist who has designed DNAFit, the world's first bespoke fitness programme based on your genes.

"It makes sense that the more tailored the plan the more likely it is to do you good - one based on your very own DNA."

A personalised plan is especially useful because one recent survey found that only half of people who exercise think their regime is working - and a huge 80% of diets fail.

Celebrity fitness trainer Matt Roberts agrees that gene-based weight-loss plans are the way forward: "It's clear to me that understanding your DNA will form the bedrock of the way workouts will be carried out in the future. There are many people who have struggled to achieve fitness or weight-loss goals, but by understanding more clearly how we work, that could be over. …