Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean being restrictive, but rather being mindful of which foods work best for your body. To assess whether a certain dietary plan is best for you, it’s important to look at genetic predispositions you may have for a variety of influential traits, from nutrition to personality!
The Mediterranean diet consists mainly of plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, nuts and whole grains. It incorporates healthy fats, such as the monounsaturated fats [MUFAs] found in olive oil or avocados, and emphasizes fish while limiting red meat.
How could my genes affect the outcome of this diet?
Genetic variations in the ADIPOQ gene have been found to be associated with an increased advantage of following the Mediterranean diet, as a way to facilitate fat loss and improve metabolic health. Other genes contributing to the effectiveness of this diet include PPARG and LPL. Do you have any of these genes? All three of these genes are related to fat storage and are produced by your fat [adipose] cells. Imagine your fat storage apparatus as the organizational system in an airport. Molecules of fat would be the suitcases to be stored within the airplanes, or cells. PPARG is responsible for directing which line and to which gate the suitcases need to go through in order to reach the right plane. When suitcases are being checked in, adiponectin would in charge of determining how much space is available to accommodate them. Finally, the enzyme LPL is the labourer who does the hard work, loading each suitcase onto the planes, like molecules of fat entering the cells.
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Variants of the mentioned genes could result in an LPL that doesn’t work as hard, for example, or PPARG that has trouble signalling efficiently. Due to these variations in how each person’s body deals with fat, the Mediterranean diet, rich in healthy fats, can be more beneficial for some than others.
Your Nutrition Package includes a report on the effectiveness of the Mediterranean diet for your health and wellness. However, having a genetic predisposition for this trait may not necessarily mean it is practical or even maximally effective for you. This is due to the fact that a combination of different traits affect how you lose weight, which nutrients your body needs most, and even how easily you embrace a specific lifestyle change. Delve a little deeper and find out!
What other traits should I look at?
For example, if your Vitamin Reports show a predisposition for Iron Deficiency and Vitamin C Deficiency, you may need to supplement your diet with foods rich in iron and vitamin C, such as oranges, strawberries, spinach, and poultry. Due to these predispositions, relying solely on the Mediterranean Diet — which is not particularly rich in these vitamins — would not be enough to cover all your body’s nutritional needs.
Example 2: If you are elevated for Sweet Tooth and Carb Overconsumption, you may find it more difficult to reduce your sugar intake and moderate your carbohydrate consumption. Thus embracing the Mediterranean diet, with its focus on carbs from vegetable, fruits, and whole grains and minimization of sweets, could be more challenging for you than the average person.. If you know whether you have predispositions for these traits, you can be aware of what makes a certain diet challenging for you to follow, and focus on making the necessary adjustments.
Example 3: If someone has a predisposition for Satiety Impairment and Fat Taste Perception, the increased protein and healthy fats of the Mediterranean diet would help contribute to satiety and make the diet easier to follow.
This gene codes for a protein that plays a role in normal pigmentation. It is found on the surface of melanocytes, which are cells responsible for the production of melanin — the pigment giving skin, hair, and eyes their colour. There are 2 types of melanin produced: eumelanin and pheomelanin. People with more eumelanin tend to have brown or black hair and skin that tans easily. On the other hand, people with more pheomelanin production tend to have blonde or red hair, freckles, and less protection from UV rays and photoaging. One gene responsible for the synthesis of pheomelanin is the ASIP gene. Having variants of this gene could lead to an increased risk of facial pigmented spots with sun exposure, as it would lead to the clumping of melanin to form areas of hyperpigmentation. [NIH]
If you are worried about photoaging, protect yourself! By having a diet with sufficient vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for your genetic makeup, you can reduce your the risk of photoaging and have plenty of fun outside this summer. ??