Why Can’t I Eat All The Pies?
Why do you have brown eyes? Or blonde hair? Or long legs?
More importantly, why, at the age of only 40 does your forehead look like it needs ironing every morning?
Why can Sally eat all those mince pies and still look amazing in that killer dress, but if you do the same you look like you’ve been involved in an explosion at a marshmallow factory?
Most of us know, thanks to that little Scottish guy in Jurassic Park and Dolly the sheep, that it is because of our DNA – our genes.
Back in the day, whilst future mum and dad swanned around in the dating game, the genetic tombola was rolling.
Once cupid’s arrow had struck, your ticket had been drawn. Pure dumb luck (good or bad, depending on your perspective) provided you with your future inherited traits.
The choice of your genes (DNA that defines a function e.g. the ABO gene – which determines your blood type) can mostly be blamed on mum and dad (thanks, guys).
But it’s not quite as simple as we first thought. There is more to our genes than a binary black or white.
Geneticists today look at the ‘variant’ or ‘polymorphism’ of the gene we have. There may be several ‘polymorphisms’ of the same gene. So don’t think black or white, but which shade of grey your genes are. And it just so happens that some shades are better than others!
One thing is for sure; we cannot look at our DNA and tell for sure what diseases we will get. It’s just not that simple.
Using a genetic test we can determine which gene ‘variants’ we have. This information could give us an indication of the chance of developing particular chronic conditions. But more positively, it could also tell us how we react to specific nutrients, vitamins, fat, sugar, wheat or dairy, or how we convert vitamins if we are found to have the particular variant in question.
We can harness this information to change our current habits, potentially preventing or reducing the risk of conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes but also increase our chances of weight loss, general health and wellbeing.
To some extent that is true, but we now know that as well as our ‘locked-in’ DNA, an additional layer of our genes are heavily affected by environmental influences, namely stress, diet, sleep and whatever else we choose to put in or do to our bodies.
Managing these ‘epigenetics’ by applying the information we can obtain from genetic testing is called Nutrigenomics. It can be used to improve your life today, using facts instead of the dubious opinion of someone trying to sell you the latest health fad or diet.
Our DNA won’t lie to us!
Open the newspaper and pick a page. You might read that you can’t eat bacon anymore because it is bad for you. Open the same paper tomorrow and now dairy is the demon, or fruit juice, or tuna fish or . . . . . . every day a new enemy.
We live in a world of information overload, trying to ‘be healthy,’ but in reality, we are twisting in the wind, following the words of the loudest and latest fad or expert.
One thing we can see clearly now is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. We are all very different creatures, as our genetics prove.
We have a different genetic makeup to Sally, so it makes sense that her genetics might allow her to eat all the mince pies but ours don’t. No fair!
But at least now we can have advance warning, in the form of genetic testing, which can help us plan best what we should eat and when, as well as when best to exercise.
Your genes can tell you how well you might process, convert and use vitamins and minerals.
With a genetic test, you would be able to detect this and supplement your diet to ensure you get all the vitamins and minerals you need and prevent potential long-term impact on your cardiovascular health, bone health, immunity, mood and energy.
Speak it quietly, but they have identified the gene which is heavily (no pun intended!) involved in body weight regulation and body composition. One variant of this gene indicates an increased fat sensitivity and a higher risk for developing insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. This is definitely something you want to know!
Research has proven that these individuals with this variant lose more weight if they adhere to low to moderate fat diets rather than high-fat diets. So all those failed months on the Atkins diet might make more sense now!
Food intolerances have become a very hot topic, with many people labelling themselves as lactose, or gluten intolerant. Genetic testing can give you concrete evidence as to whether you are genetically predisposed to be intolerant to foods that contain lactose, gluten or histamine or not. In severe instances, genes for gluten intolerance may indicate an increased possibility of coeliac disease.
Nutrigenomics can help plan for these situations and adjust your diet accordingly.
Did you know your genes could show if you have a preference for sugary or fatty foods? Or that you might be more likely to snack between meals than others?
Research has shown this can lead to greater long-term weight gain and increased risk of diabetes in women. If you are aware of this tendency of your genes, you can modify potential negative dietary habits that you may not even realise you had.
Certain variants can also affect excessive caffeine and salt consumption and puts those with them at higher risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Instead of unbelievable sci-fi movies like Jurassic Park or X-men, genetic testing can have a real and tangible effect on you today, right now!
Giving us unique personal information we have never had access to before, using this information will soon become the norm. Take a genetic test today and unlock the secrets of your genes to start giving your body exactly what it needs to be the healthiest brightest version of you.
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