You don’t get to choose your family. You don’t get to pick your genetics, either. Yet, even if your genetics aren’t what you’d like, you can select foods that talk positively to your genes, allowing you to manage your health, including your weight.
Nutrigenomics is the study of how food interacts with specific genes to influence health, and its findings show that unhealthy genetic predispositions can be minimized by eating right foods—determining what genes are turned on and what genes are turned off.
One nutrigenomics study says, “Food is more than just energy or calories. Food contains hidden information which communicates to your genes, giving your metabolism specific instructions on what it should be doing. Some of the instructions food gives are: lose weight or gain weight; produce molecules that increase or decrease your appetite. The kind of food you eat gives your genes different information, helping them make decisions as to what it will tell your body to do. Food talks to your genes.”
What foods you eat, however, will decide the genetic outcome. If you can learn the language of your genes and control the instructions they give your body, then you can manage how food interacts with your body—including your weight. Interestingly, eating whole, unprocessed foods are what we are designed to eat. Whole foods speak to your genes in their native language, so eat foods as close to their natural state as possible—whole, sprouted grains, or a whole avocado, apple, or tomato, for example.
On the other hand, processed foods speak negatively to your body but, unfortunately, there are at least 320,000 processed foods and beverages available to us. The problem is that they can cause genetic communication breakdown, but processed foods are nothing new. For example, in the 1970s, major changes in U.S. agriculture led to an overproduction of corn and an extra 500 calories available daily for every American—mostly in the form of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
High-fructose corn syrup, however, can be hazardous to your health. It has no vitamins, minerals, or enzymes and robs the body of micronutrients. Additionally, it messes with healthy cholesterol and insulin levels and converts to fat faster than any other sugar, while raising serum triglyceride levels—and that’s not a healthy combination.
That’s not all, though. An important discovery in nutrigenomics is the hunger hormone leptin’s role in obesity and high fructose corn syrup’s effect on leptin. Found in chromosome seven, leptin regulates energy intake and energy expenditure, but reacts adversely to high amounts of HFCS consumption and stops working. That leaves the body leptin resistant, which leads to weight gain. So avoid intake of foods high in HFCS.
That’s only one example of how food talks to your body. The bottom line? Speak your body’s love language by eating whole, unprocessed foods, and avoid nasty, unhealthy processed foods—including those with HFCS.