Why are some people more sensitive to spicy food than others?

Scientists have known for a long time that chili peppers’ heat stems from a chemical called capsaicin, which

The capsaicin receptor (TRPV1) in the mouth regulates the amount of pain that comes with a spicy meal.

People’s sensitivity to spicy food varies, which helps to explain why some individuals can’t stand spicy dishes while others enjoy them.

Food Sensitivity & DNA

As you probably know, our body responds to foods differently depending on our DNA. 

You may be more sensitive to bitter foods, for example, and that can affect your food preferences. 

You may also be more sensitive to caffeine as compared to others. In fact, some people may experience anxiety, headaches, stomach pains, or high blood pressure when they consume coffee.

Here are some other foods that your body may respond to differently depending on your DNA:

  1. Carbohydrates
  2. Saturated fats
  3. Lactose
  4. Gluten
  5. And more!

To learn more about your sensitivity to certain foods and your potential response to certain nutrients, please click here. 

Here are the top 3 health benefits of spicy food:

1.  Spicy meals may help with longevity.

According to a 2015 study, eating spicy food six or seven days a week — even once a day — reduced mortality rates by 14%.

2. Spicy foods increase metabolism.

Several studies have found that spices like cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, and peppers might increase your metabolic resting rate while decreasing your appetite. 

3. Spices are anti-inflammatory.

Curcumin, a turmeric component, may help reduce inflammation in the body.

The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger and garlic have been utilized in Ayurvedic medicine for ages to treat a variety of ailments, including arthritis, autoimmune disorders, migraines, and nausea.

Already taken a DNA test? Upload your DNA now and get personalized insights and actionable recommendations on diet and health. 

Here are the top 4 signs that spicy foods may not good for you:

You require a mint.

Bad breath can be caused by a variety of foods, including onions and garlic, but spicy foods can also be a culprit, due to the digestive issues that these dishes can produce.

You’re having heartburn.

Spicy meals such as hot peppers, spicy curries, and other spicy foods cause the stomach’s gastric fluids to reflux into the esophagus, causing heartburn.


Because spicy or peppery foods are known to induce heartburn, it can worsen the condition when you’re attempting to sleep. Lying down enables the acids in your stomach to run back up into your esophagus and burn the lining. As a result of the discomfort caused by heartburn, falling asleep might be difficult.

You’re having acne.

You know how much it can burn if you accidentally touch your eye after eating spicy food. Spicy ingredients can also trigger skin irritation and flare-ups in people who already have skin problems.

Want to discover how DNA can help you optimize your diet? Click here to learn more.

Are You More Likely To Binge Eat Based On DNA?

People may tend to overeat from time to time. 

However, binge eating is a different matter. If you always eat a large amount of food in a brief period of time, even when you are not hungry, you’re probably binge-eating.

When you’re binge-eating. you’re also more likely to feel embarrassed or guilty about it.

Your genetics play a significant role in your diet and health, particularly your eating habits. LifeDNA has found 5 important genes that can influence your likelihood of binge-eating. 

What is considered binge-eating?

Binge-eating and overeating both include mindless activity. You eat excessively without considering why. 

However, there are significant differences.

Here are some examples of overeating:

  • Enjoying multiple desserts after dinner
  • Consuming an entire bag of popcorn while watching a movie

Here are some examples of binge-eating:

  • Consuming two or three burgers even when you’re already stuffed.  
  • Eating to the point of pain.
  • Eating a whole cake in one sitting and then feeling guilty.

Your FTO Gene & Your Eating Habits

A variety of genes influence your likelihood of binge eating. These genes have the potential to influence brain circuits that regulate hunger and mood.

One of the genes that our geneticists have looked into is your FTO gene.

Your FTO gene is also linked to other traits such as:

  • Saturated Fat Metabolism 

How quickly do you metabolize saturated fats?

  • Satiety  

Trouble feeling full? Ask your DNA.

  • Appetite 

Appetite determines how much you naturally want to eat.

  • Preference for fatty foods 

The food you love to eat is heavily determined by your genetics. 

  • And weight change 

Research suggests that for some people, genes account for 25% of their predisposition to be overweight/underweight, while for others, the genetic influence is as high as 70% to 80%. 

Want to get personalized diet insights tailored to your DNA? Check out our nutrition report now

Certain genetic variants may increase your likelihood of binge eating, but other factors including your lifestyle and environment can also trigger it.

Here are some other external factors that can affect your binge eating tendencies:

Parents and families. 

If you often see your parents overeat, you’re more likely to pick up these behaviours.   The practices you acquire from the people around you may have an impact on your eating habits. 

Anxiety and Stress.

 People tend to binge eat after going through a serious, stressful situation. It is important to note that emotional eating is not always a sign of binge eating.


Depression may increase your likelihood of binge-eating. In fact, about 50% of people who tend to binge eat are also depressed. 

Excessive calorie restriction.

 An attempt to shed a few pounds might sometimes result in binge eating. This is particularly true when people try to lose weight by cutting meals or consuming too little. If they don’t attain their target weight, they may feel so bad about themselves that they overeat.

If you want to lose weight, the best DNA test will help you do that based on the way your own, individual body works. 

Final Thoughts

Binge-eating can lead to obesity, which is a risk factor for many diseases. 

That’s why it’s important to know your genetic predisposition to binge eating in order to get the right prevention management from health care professionals.

Already taken a DNA test with 23andMe, Ancestry, MyHeritage, Living DNA, or Family Tree DNA?

Upload your DNA to get personalized insights that can help you better manage your diet. You can learn more here. 

Do DNA diets actually work?

In short, yes, DNA diets can work.

The reason the answer is ‘can work’ rather than ‘do work’ is because your genes are only one part of the puzzle of your health. Lifestyle and environment factors also play a big role in how you react to the food you eat.

But the science of nutrigenomics has proven that your version of a gene can make you respond to a food (or the components of that food) in a different way to your neighbor, or even your sibling.

Examples are the lactose in milk, the gluten in bread, or the caffeine in coffee. Your genes also have a say in how you process the carbohydrates, fats, proteins vitamins and minerals found in various foods.

But can your DNA tell you what diet is best for you? Read on to find out.

Here’s the TL;DR…

  • DNA diets work, but your environment and lifestyle has a huge impact on preventing and curing disease too
  • Diets based on DNA have helped people lose 18 lbs more than people on a non-DNA keto diet.
  • Articles in the media that downplay DNA diets are based on studies that only analyzed a few genes, not the hundreds we and other companies look at.

What is a DNA diet?

A DNA diet uses nutrigenomics to create an eating plan that is right for you, based on your DNA.

Nutrigenomics is the study of how your diet impacts your genes (and vice versa: your genes can also impact your diet, for example by influencing your appetite). 

So how does your DNA affect your ideal diet?

Well, for instance, there are many genes that influence how you metabolize caffeine. One of them increases your risk of high blood pressure if you go wild on the espressos.

We’ve also found multiple genes that affect how you lose weight: your DNA can tell us a lot about your likelihood of getting trim on a protein-rich diet as opposed to one heavier on carbohydrates.

It’s important to say here that DNA testing for diet won’t give you a perfect body or tip-top health on it’s own.

As we mentioned before, lifestyle and environment have a huge effect on your body and mind too. 

You could follow the perfect diet for you, but if you’re super-stressed, get no exercise, and stay up till 3am every night, you won’t reap the benefits. 

Other factors, like your gut health and toxin intake are crucial too.

DNA and diet: does a diet based on your DNA really work?

There is no one DNA diet, so let’s unpack the answer to that question.

A few articles in the scientific press claim that DNA-based diets have no credibility, but the studies they cite usually look at one to three genes.

According to the Human Genome Project, the human genome has between 20,000 to 25,000 genes. Also, the science of nutrigenomics is progressing every day

The biggest problem with the articles that look down DNA diets is that they don’t explain the difference between basing a diet on a single gene and using a complex algorithm which factors in hundreds of genes.

However, single genes can still have a big impact. 

For example, one Harvard study found that people with a specific FTO gene variation lost a lot more weight on a higher-protein diet.

These types of studies are vital in helping us overcome the current one-size fits all diets that don’t look at us as individuals.

So the answer is yes, a diet plan based on DNA can certainly work, especially if it looks at a significant range of your genes instead of just a couple.

What does a DNA diet plan look like?

What a diet plan based on DNA looks like depends on who (or what, in the case of algorithms) created it.

A good DNA diet plan will not only tell you what you should and shouldn’t be eating, but why, and give you actionable advice on how to optimize your diet based on your genes.

Not all types of DNA diets do this.

For instance, if your caffeine sensitivity genes show that overall, you’re moderately sensitive to caffeine, a good DNA diet plan will tell you exactly how much is safe to consume: maybe two to four cups a day.

It will also give you a breakdown of all the genes that the algorithm has analysed to come to that conclusion.  We currently know of five genes that affect how your body deals with caffeine.

Caffeine sensitivity is affected in two basic ways:

First, you may metabolize caffeine more slowly, which increases your sensitivity to its effects.

Second, caffeine may lower your bone density, depending on your genetic variations.

At LifeDNA, we combine these two factors to determine how much caffeine you can safely consume in a day.

A good DNA diet plan will also give you the references to the scientific studies that your advice is based on.

What are the best DNA diet tests?

DNA diet testing should enable you to use nutrition to its fullest potential to prevent, manage or improve health issues. 

From the results, you need to learn how to optimize your wellness and quality of life. While getting the results you want may take some effort, putting the advice into practice should be easy.

Your results should be crystal-clear, simple, specific and actionable.

Because knowing that you should consume less caffeine, for instance, isn’t giving you the information you need to change your behavior. You also need to know why you need to cut your coffee intake (what could happen if you don’t), and exactly how many lattes you can get away with.

You should also look for reports that present their information in a clear, compelling and attractive way. You’ll be seeing and digesting a lot of complex data: looks count for a lot here.

For an in-depth comparison of these DNA testing companies, see here and here.


Advantages of LifeDNA

  • LifeDNA’s ever-evolving library of genetic reports continues to grow week-on-week, responding to the latest research on the human genome.
  • Reports are plain, simple, and actionable. You’ll instantly know what kind of changes you need to make to the way you eat and live.
  • LifeDNA uses a proprietary algorithm powered by machine learning to ensure each report is the most accurate on the market. 
  • LifeDNA also provides an exclusive membership with benefits including 1-on-1 consultations, unlimited updates, genomics newsletters, and Facebook community.
  • Our platinum membership uses the latest discoveries in genetic science to give you up-to-the-minute information on how to eat according to your individual DNA. 

Disadvantages of LifeDNA

  • We don’t provide ancestry information.
  • We only ship initial testing kits to the US and Canada (but you can upload your genetic data from other providers).
  • We don’t provide information on cancer risk.


Advantages of Genopalate

  • Great for foodies
  • Hundreds of recipes on their website
  • PDF printout with all the information you need
  • Own line of supplements

Disadvantages of Genopalate

  • Simple genomic testing that doesn’t employ AI or machine learning
  • Nutrition and food information only
  • Supplements are expensive
  • Customer service team is difficult to reach


Advantages of DNAfit

  • You can get reports on both your health and fitness potential
  • You can upload your 23andme raw data, for a fee
  • A one-off coaching session comes with the price
  • There is a money-back guarantee (subject to terms and conditions)
  • There are no ongoing subscription fees as they don’t offer membership

Disadvantages of DNAfit

  • You can’t upload your raw DNA data to use through other companies
  • Sometimes the health recommendations are generic
  • The cost of the premium CircleDNA report with ‘whole exome sequencing’ is high ($629)
  • Some customers report long wait times 


Advantages of VitaGene

  • Non-DNA food sensitivity testing
  • Ancestry and health information
  • One-off payment with a lot of options to choose from
  • Option to delete information

Disadvantages of VitaGene

  • No AI or machine learning
  • No subscription option
  • History of data breach
  • Results can take a long time to arrive

Are DNA diet tests accurate?

DNA diet tests are very accurate at revealing the specific genes that you carry. The science behind the cheek swab tests is trusted by experts worldwide. There’s no question that they’re both reliable and accurate.

However, if your question is really ‘will my DNA diet test make me lose weight/feel healthier’, the answer isn’t so simple.

That’s because your health and wellness depends on so much more than just your genes. While your genes are a crucial and undeniable part, there’s a massive environmental component too. 

For instance, we know that the 100 trillion bacteria that make up your microbiome have a huge impact on your ability to tolerate gluten. 

So, your genes might say you should be able to digest bread without a problem, but if your gut bugs say different, you could feel better staying away from sandwiches. 

Are DNA diets the same as other weight loss diets?

No, DNA diets aren’t the same as other diets.

For a start, most DNA diets aren’t about losing weight: they’re about maximizing your health and longevity

Sure, some genes affect how easy or hard it is for you to lose weight, but that’s usually not the focus of a DNA diet.

Most weight loss diets focus on depriving yourself and being hungry. DNA diets focus on making the most out of your own individual body and metabolism to make losing weight a healthier and more pleasant experience, if that’s what you want to do.

Final Thoughts

DNA diets do work: we have the science to prove it.

Saying DNA diets don’t work is like saying that we can’t predict the weather because sometimes meteorologists get it wrong. 

We can’t base our conclusion about a whole area of science on one-off examples and small-scale studies.

DNA diets have the power to revolutionize your life, if you use them as one part of a toolkit that takes into account the rest of the factors that make and maintain health.

Your DNA isn’t your fate, but it can put you on a path to wellness and give you a map to help you get to the summit.