What should I be eating? Crunching confusions around nutrition
Why does the same diet that helps one person lose weight make another person put on weight? Why are there are so many different opinions and contradicting information available around nutrition and which diet is best?
It is often presumed that our bodies all respond the same to certain nutrients or to our environment. Our environment includes diet, stress, exercise, toxins and chemicals such as medication. However, each person is either a “responder” or a “non-responder” to certain environmental factors. This is why we cannot simply follow the same diet which worked for our friend or neighbour.
Why do we respond in different ways?
Genetics- it is well known that we all have genetic variations but how do these affect nutrition? Genetic variants (Variations in our genetic code) can alter our nutrient requirement. They also affect how we respond to our environment. Every person has and estimated of 50 000 variations. If there are variations in specific metabolic pathways, like for instance in glucose metabolism or detoxification pathways, it may be involved in problems with energy, body weight and disease metabolism can cause problems with glucose balance which can affect energy, body weight and disease development.
The metabolism of a nutrient called choline is an interesting example of how nutrients can have different effects. Choline was not seen as an essential nutrient until 1988. (Essential means that it has to be ingested from our diet because the body doesn’t make it) About 10% of people get sick from not getting enough choline. An estimated 77% of men and 56% of postmenopausal women develop liver damage or muscle damage associated with choline deficiency. Choline is found mainly in eggs and for a long time eggs where restricted in diets as it was believed that it caused high cholesterol. Today we know that there is no connection between egg intake and high cholesterol. However, people who needed more choline and avoided egg may have not had enough of this nutrient in their diet which resulted in illness.
Epigenetics – diet, stress, exercise, toxins and chemical intake can” switch” genes on or off. The switching on and off of certain genes affects your health on a metabolic level. Implementing the correct changes can modulate gene expression by switching it on or off in order for you to reach your desired health goal.
Gut Bacteria– the bacteria in our gut has their very own DNA. It is said that we have about 100 times more DNA from micro-organisms living in our body than our own. This means that the balance of these micro-organisms play a very big role in our own health. Gut bacterial can affect mood, blood sugar, inflammation and many other health issues that we may encounter.
Nutrigenetic tests are intended to provide information about your response to a particular nutrient, diet, exercise, toxins and chemicals taken in the form of medication. The tests results help us see which variations a person has that affect metabolism, health status and risk of disease. This helps us make informed decisions about creating a personalised diet and lifestyle plans.
You will l benefit from Nutrigenetic testing if
- You struggle to lose weight
- You want personalised plan to help prevent future health problems
- You have a family history of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, Parkinson’s’ disease or mental illness.
- You have oestrogen related health problems such as endometriosis, fibroids, PMS, polycystic ovarian syndrome.
- You are exercising and would like to prevent injuries, follow the correct training program for their genes.
- You are taking certain medications and would like to find out if you are likely to have negative side effects or if the medication is beneficial.
Since your DNA does not change, you will only need to do the test once to find out your risks and nutritional requirement.