We often talk about genetics as if it’s set in stone. For example, “She just has good genes” or “He is born with it” are common phrases. However, over the past decade, biochemists and geneticists discovered that your genetic expression changes over time. Based on environmental, cultural, or genetic factors, certain genes are strongly expressive while others are dormant. Therefore, genes give us a lot of information.
Your Food Choices Affect Your Genes
According to recent study from Norway (NTNU), research show that a balanced diet is the best recipe for a life free of chronic diseases later in life. For instance, the best diet is a combination of 1/3 protein, 1/3 fat, and 1/3 carbohydrates. However, not everyone gets to enjoy a balanced diet. Even people in Norway.
Did you know that the food you eat affects your genes? During a study from the Institute of Science and Technology of Norway, researchers fed slightly overweight participants different diets. They studied the effect of their consumption of food on their gene expression. Gene expression refers to the process where information from a gene’s DNA sequence is translated into a protein-like substance. This protein substance is then packaged and then used in the subject’s cell structure or function. The latest findings are astounding.
Findings of the Norway Studies
Geneticist studies reveal that a diet with 65% carbohydrates, which is often the average Norwegian meal. This type of diet causes certain genes to work overtime. Eating certain foods affect not only the genes, it also triggers the development of inflammation, cardiovascular disease, dementia, diabetes, and some cancers. At the end of the day, we see that there is a symbiotic relationship between food and preventable lifestyle disease.
Preventable Lifestyle Disease
Are human beings designed to be magnets for sickness and disease? What do you think? These are questions weigh heavily on the hearts and minds of today’s geneticists. What if these lifestyle-related diseases prove to be preventable? What if food replaced medicine?
Let Food Be Thy Medicine
It looks like Hippocrates; the father of modern medicine is right – his theory that “Food is Medicine” makes headlines. Even Hollywood super stars replace their old diets with a plant-based diet. Not only do they give up past unhealthy habits, but they also get amazing results. Let’s dig a little deeper into our exploration of the relationship between your genes, your diet, and your health.
What is a Gene?
As you probably know, a gene is not made by Levi 501 jeans. The gene is the basic unit of hereditary information. Genes pass down from parents to offspring and contain the information needed to specify physical and biological traits. Most genes code for specific proteins. These proteins have differing functions within the body. Humans have approximately 25,000 protein-coding genes. Every person has two copies of each gene. We inherit one gene from each parent.
Genes carry the information that determines your traits. For example, if both of your parents have green eyes, you will inherit the trait of green eyes from them. Or if your mom has freckles, you will inherit freckles from her. However, genes aren’t just found in humans, though – all animals and plants have genes, too. I guess you wonder where these genes are located.
Where are these Important Genes?
Genes are so small; you can’t see them. They are found on tiny spaghetti-like structures called chromosomes (Kro-moh-somes). These chromosomes are found inside cells. Your body is made of billions of cells. Cells are the very small units that make up all living things. A cell is so tiny that you can only see it using a strong microscope.
Chromosomes come in matching sets of two (or pairs) and there are hundreds – sometimes thousands – of genes in just one chromosome. The chromosomes and genes are made of DNA, which is short for deoxyribonucleic (dee-ox-se-ri-bo-nyoo-Clay-ik) acid. These are the intricacies of genetics.
Genetics is a Branch of Biology
Genetics is a branch of biology that specialize in the study of genes, genetic variation, and heredity. Although the study of genetics was around many years ago, Gregor Mendel, was the first to study it scientifically.
What traits are Genetic?
Parents pass on traits or characteristics such as eye color and blood type to their children through their genes. Some health conditions and diseases are also passed on. One characteristic, such as blood type, has many different forms. For example, you can inherit blood type A, B, AB, or O. In addition, you can inherit Ab, Positive, B Positive, O Negative, O Positive (universal blood type) blood type. Altogether, these make up your genetic information.
What is Genetic Information?
Genetic information includes information about your individual genetic tests and the genetic tests of your family members. In addition, it includes data about a disease or a disorder of a family member (i.e., family medical history). This information leads to the next topic regarding gene expression.
Gene expression is the process by which information is encoded in a gene. This information is then used to make RNA molecules that code for proteins. In addition, information is used to make non-coding RNA molecules that serve other functions. This sounds a bit scientific; I know.
Gene expression is used in biological research to understand the mechanisms of complex disorders such as heart disease, cancer, and other metabolic disorders. These disorders are summarized in the theory of the central dogma of biology.
Central Dogma of Molecular Biology
Gene expression is summarized in the central dogma of molecular biology. This anthology was first formulated by Francis Crick in 1958. The central dogma of molecular biology is a theory stating that genetic information flows only in one direction, from DNA, to protein, or RNA directly to protein. Another interesting subdivision of genetics is called nutrigenetics.
Nutrigenetics is the study of the relationships between genes, diet, and health outcomes. Nutrigenomics, on the other hand, is a related but distinct field. It is the study of how genes and nutrients interact at the molecular level. However, the field of nutrigenetics is relatively new. Therefore, science and technology makes headlines in this new field of study. This research revolves around your genes and nutrigenetics.
Nutrigenics is a burgeoning new field of science. In fact. it is a developing science that identifies genetic susceptibility to diseases. Nutrigenetics is important for the following reasons:
- It identifies the ways in which genes interact with food in the body.
- Enables us to realize how your genes react to foods, beverage, and supplements
- Genetic specialists plan your diet based on your genetic make-up.
- Genetics, environment and food come are interrelated.
The Relationship Between Genes, Environment and Food
In 2016, researchers in Norway carried out a study on the relationship between genetics, environment, and food preferences. The result of this study shows that genetic factors influence how much food we eat. The study included six food groups – vegetables, fruits, starchy foods, meat or fish, dairy and snacks.
As a result, Biologists in Norway found that certain genes cause food cravings. If scientists conquer food cravings and triggers, once and for all, we conquer the obesity crisis, once and for all. Is the key to weight loss inside our DNA?
DNA Tell What’s the Best Foods for You
According to genetic specialists, 45% of people’s genes need a high carbohydrate diet, 47% need moderate and only 8% need low. Therefore, your DNA reveals things about your genotype. In addition, DNA also shows your food sensitivities to lactose, gluten, caffeine, and protein. In fact, DNA can show which foods are healthiest for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a gene?
Your DNA is made up of different sections called genes. Each gene is responsible for creating proteins that perform different tasks.
Function of proteins?
Proteins are created by genes to carry out specific tasks in the body. Some of these tasks shape how you look or your body’s ability to work smoothly.
What is Genetic Information?
Deep inside every part of your body lies special information that is passed down to you by your birth parents and helps shape what you look like and how your body works.
What is a cell?
The smallest unit of life. Your body is made up of trillions of cells.
What is a chromosome?
Within each cell there are 23 pairs of chromosomes that you inherit from your birth parents.
What is DNA?
Each chromosome is made of strands of deoxyribonucleic acid, also known as DNA. DNA carries the genetic information needed to build and maintain everything in your body.
Why is genetics important?
You can think of your genes as an instruction manual within your cells. They give your body direction for what to do and how to do it. Genes provide instruction for physical qualities such as eye and hair color.
What does gene expression do?
Gene expression is the process of turning on a specific gene to start making messenger RNA. The messenger RNA performs intended jobs in the cell and forms proteins. Gene expression also controls how much messenger RNA is made.
What does DNA have to do with your diet?
Our food choices are shaped by different factors such as culture, learning and age, and by our environment.
Leveraging Environmental and Genetic Influences
Studies help us understand the role genetics play in our lives. Science tells us that the interaction between genes and environment shape human development. Despite the misconception that genes are “set in stone,” research shows that early experiences determine how genes are turned on and off, or whether some are expressed at all. Science and technology are the key to unlock the obesity puzzle. We are certainly moving in that direction.
Final Take Home
The human body is a highly complex instrument. It consists of 25,000 genes, cells, chromosomes, DNA, RNA, and much more. Genetics a vast field that overlaps with biology, biochemistry, genealogy, gene expression. These studies help us find out our own inherited traits, characteristics, behaviors, and traditions. As a result, we find the causes of certain diseases, genetic mutations, and discovery solutions to chronic diseases and other medical conditions.
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