Genetic information undoubtedly has an impact on our body. However, other factors must also be considered, such as diet. This is where the relationship between your diet and genes comes in. Nutritional genetics is the science that helps explain this relationship.
Experts are allowed to answer questions such as: How does a person who eats what they do not want to gain weight? Why do I not lose weight even if I follow a strict diet ? Although there are many factors to consider, it is important to know about your genetics in order to adapt your diet accordingly.
What is nutritional genetics?
As we mentioned above, this scientific discipline, also known as personal nutrition, studies the relationship between food and genes. It deals with the following aspects:
- Influence of genes due to the food we eat
- Increased or decreased risk of suffering from some diseases
- Development of personal nutrition guidelines
In addition, it is important to know that there is a concept that is similar to and complements this scientific discipline: nutrigenomics. Below you will discover what it consists of, as well as the similarities and differences between both disciplines.
Nutritional genetics and nutrigenomics
Nutrogenomics studies the mechanisms by which nutrients act as chemical signals to influence gene expression. In fact, they alter protein synthesis and function to several metabolic outcomes.
Currently, both concepts are particularly relevant in new medical disciplines. It proposes adapting preventive measures and treatments to people’s special characteristics.
What impact do genetic variations have?
All humans are 99.9% identical in their genetic makeup. However, the differences in hair, skin color, height or weight lie in the remaining 0.1%, as well as individual susceptibility to disease or health.
How we look, or the diseases we can develop, is a result of differences in gene expression or altered processes. An example of a gene expression change is a mutation that occurred thousands of years ago, causing lactose intolerance.
Nutrigenetics: the relationship between food and genes
As you probably know, the food you eat contains many active ingredients that can either be beneficial or adversely affect your health. The state of health is given by the interaction between the genetic map and the environment it relates to.
Several studies suggest that this genetic map is sensitive to the nutritional environment, and therefore gene expression will vary according to a person’s diet. According to this, a genetic component is responsible for dietary response differences between one person and another.
How can nutrigenetics help you?
Each person’s genetic information presupposes nutritional status. Even if you obviously do not have control over your genes, the more you know about this, the easier it will be for you to act with the rest of the factors you can change.
In this context, diet is the most important environmental factor because we are always exposed to it. In the same way, it can be modified and adapted.
This is why nutrients are so important. It gives you clues that allow you to counteract your negative genetic tendencies or risk for certain diseases with a diet and lifestyle that is tailored to your specific needs.
How to use it
Until not so long ago, traditional diets only took into account environmental factors and some aspects such as age, gender, height, physical exercise and certain biochemical aspects.
However , it is currently helping people determine which diet to follow based on their DNA in order to prevent future diseases.
What we should elaborate on nutritional genetics
The fact that some dietary components play a key role in regulating gene expression is undeniable. In the same way, you need to know that the more you know about your genes, the easier it will be for you to follow a proper diet.
Do not forget that a trained professional can best advise you on this issue. We should also note that while it is important to follow an adequate diet to avoid disease, you must follow this with a healthy lifestyle.