Personalized Meal Plans to Suit Your Unique Gene Profile
In 2016, health and wellness company GenoPalate joined the likes of DNAfit, Vitagene, and GeneFood in offering nutritional insights based on your unique genetic makeup. You can take the company’s own DNA test or upload your raw DNA data if you’ve previously taken a test with either 23andMe or AncestryDNA.
Ongoing genetic research has shown that a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition doesn’t work. Therefore, GenoPalate analyzes more than 100 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in your DNA to see how you uniquely metabolize what you eat, so it can provide personalized meal plans and dietary recommendations to stay healthy and lose weight.
One limitation for potential international customers is that GenoPalate currently only offers its services within the United States.
Now let’s see how it works and what you get.
Saliva Sample from a Cheek Swab, No Blood Required
The GenoPalate test kit requires a saliva collection that you obtain via a cheek swab – don’t worry, it’s super quick and painless. All you’ll need to do is rub the swab against the inside of your cheek a few times before inserting it into a vial of preservative solution.
The big thing to remember is not to eat, drink, smoke, chew gum, or rinse your mouth for at least 30 minutes before collecting your sample.
Each kit comes with a full set of instructions, a biohazard bag to hold your sample, and an addressed box to send it in for analysis. Once you’ve sent in your sample, just sit back and wait for GenoPalate to tell you that your report is ready.
5 Standout Features of GenoPalate
1. Analyzes 100+ SNPs
GenoPalate’s lab looks at more than 100 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). These are the most common genetic variants that occur between people. By analyzing these biological markers, scientists are able to discern how your body uniquely processes different types of food.
2. Nutritional Analysis of Hundreds of Foods
In addition to analyzing your unique DNA, GenoPalate scientists have also conducted an in-depth nutritional review of hundreds of foods. This allows GenoPalate to accurately recommend foods that can meet your specific needs and provide the nutrients that benefit you the most.
3. Recommendations Based on Solid Research
The results and nutritional recommendations are based on solid genetic research. According to the company, GenoPalate only selects “evidence-based research from high-impact clinical trials and population studies that directly link positive health outcomes with nutritional genomics.” Plus, GenoPalate’s labs are CLIA and CMS certified.
4. In-Depth and Actionable Insights
The in-depth, actionable insights include recommended macronutrients (carbs, proteins, and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). The “Your Foods” section of your report lists more than 85 foods that you may benefit from eating more of, based on your unique genetic profile.
5. Personalized Recipes
One step beyond recommending specific foods, GenoPalate also offers an add-on of five personalized recipes (for an additional cost). Choose if you want to receive breakfast, lunch, or dinner recipes, and whether you have any cuisine preferences (e.g., Asian, Mediterannean, Mexiican) or dietary restrictions (e.g., lactose-free, vegan, gluten-free.
Similar Tests to Consider
For a comparable price as GenoPalate, Orig3n provides a wealth of nutrition insights, including things such as likely food sensitivities, plus hunger and weight traits. There are a number of other tests available, which means you can get this dietary information bundled with personalized fitness recommendations.
Vitagene is another good option to consider if you are interested in getting a whole lot of personal information based on your unique genetic makeup. In addition to food sensitivities, metabolism levels, and customized meal plans, you’ll also get reports on exercise, your skin, and recommended supplements. Plus, each purchase comes with a free ancestry and ethnic breakdown. For the price, this bundle is hard to beat.
An Attractive Report with Nutritional Recommendations
You’ll be notified by email when your unique report is ready to be viewed via your online account. If you uploaded raw DNA data from another testing company (AncestryDNA or 23andMe), this should be within one to three weeks. If you took GenoPalate’s own test, it will probably take four to six weeks to see your results.
The 20-page report is pretty attractive despite the very in-depth information it contains. It starts with a “Crash Course” on genetics that tells you how your genes and nutritional needs are interrelated.
The report details how your specific gene variants affect the amounts of various nutrients (such as fats) you should be eating:
The report goes on to recommend specific foods that will benefit you. For example, I was encouraged to consume more carbohydrates, fiber, folate, and a few key vitamins found in certain fruits, vegetables, and grains:
High Prices Unless You Already Have Raw DNA Data
Although there are one or two more expensive competitors such as Helix, it’s hard to recommend GenoPalate to anyone on a tight budget. You can get similar nutritional insights at a lower cost from the likes of Vitagene, GeneFood, Orig3n, or Nutrisystem.
Small discounts may be available occasionally (at the time of writing, all kit options included a few dollars off). However, the best way to save money is to upload your raw DNA data if you’ve already taken a test with either AncestryDNA or 23andMe. You’ll get exactly the same report as a result.
If you do decide to pay for GenoPalate’s services, you’ll find that it accepts payments in US dollars via most major credit cards. Refunds are available only at the company’s discretion.
Limited Self-Support Resources, but Rapid Email Responses
GenoPalate’s website includes a decent set of frequently asked questions, arranged into logical categories:
That’s as good as it gets for self-support resources, since the blog is rather bare and there seems to be no knowledge center. The company’s social media pages are active, but probably won’t be of any real help.
You can contact the company by live chat and telephone (during business hours), email, or postal mail. I received relatively rapid responses to my emailed questions:
The Report Could Be Worth the Cost
GenoPalate is not for the cost-conscious customer. However, if money is not your main concern – and you’re solely interested in dietary insights – you might quite like the attractively presented, personalized nutrition report.
If you already have raw DNA data from a previous provider, you probably have nothing to lose by uploading it here to get exactly the same report at a lower price. In this case, it could be worth the cost, just beware that you’ll still have to pay extra if you want personalized recipes.
How accurate is GenoPalate?
While no DNA test can boast 100% accuracy, GenoPalate takes the appropriate steps to ensure that your results are of the highest possible quality. All samples are analyzed in a CLIA-certified lab. The GenoPalate scientists look at more than 100 genetic markers that provide insight into how you uniquely process different nutrients.
The information that is included in your report has all been derived from evidence-based research from high-impact clinical trials and accredited studies. Bottom line? You can rest assured that the recommendations that you receive – if followed properly – will help you meet and maintain your personal health goals.
How does GenoPalate compare to other Diet and Nutrition DNA kits?
Whereas GenoPalate focuses solely on how your unique DNA influences your diet and nutrition, many competitors – including DNAfit and Vitagene – also include fitness insights and recommendations, and even ancestry reports. GenoPalate is much more specialized and provides deeper insights within this single category.
GenoPalate is also different than competitors like Everlywell or LetsGetChecked, which require a finger prick blood test. These companies are measuring your current levels of vitamins and minerals, whereas GenoPalate determines whether you are genetically predisposed to a deficiency. One issue with the blood tests is that these levels naturally fluctuate over time; for example, you may typically have an iron deficiency, but it will not show up on your report.
Some additional key differences also set GenoPalate apart and could make it the best choice for you. For example, it is one of the only vendors that provide actual recipes (for an additional cost) based on your personal dietary requirements; most others will only provide recommendations to include or avoid certain ingredients.
How much does a GenoPalate test cost?
There are a couple of different options when it comes to ordering a GenoPalate test kit. You can order the report on its own or along with five recipes; you can also save money by uploading existing DNA data (assuming you’ve already taken a test with 23andMe or AncestryDNA).
GenoPalate is more expensive than many of its competitors, with a starting price of US$189,00. Depending on whether you can upload raw data and if you’d like to include the recipes, you can expect to spend anywhere from about $70 to well over $200.
This test may not be worth it to the most budget-conscious buyers. However, if you are solely focused on insights and recommendations for your diet (fitness not included), then it may be worth the high(er) price tag.
Is it safe to take a GenoPalate test?
From a privacy standpoint, it is safe to submit a DNA sample to GenoPalate. When you submit your sample, your DNA will be de-identified and encrypted in the company database. This means that not even the scientists analyzing your sample or creating your report will see any of your personal information. After your report has been generated, your sample is disposed of in accordance with CLIA-standards. You can also request that your GenoPalate account be deleted.
Who should consider taking a GenoPalate test?
GenoPalate definitely provides a high-quality product, but it might not be for everyone. You should consider taking the test if you are primarily interested in diet and nutrition insights, since fitness and ancestry reports are not included. This could also be a great option if you would find value in personalized recipes, since many competitors do not offer this feature (although, you will have to pay extra).
Since this report is on the more expensive end, it may not be the best option if you are particularly price-sensitive. However, it should still be in your consideration set if you have already taken a test from AncestryDNA or 23andMe, since you can save money by uploading your raw DNA data.