Did you know your taste perception and food preference depend on your genetic makeup? In other words, why some people like pineapple on pizza may be an aftermath of various factors, including genetics. Isn’t that so interesting! Termed nutrigenomics, DuPont-based chemist Arthur Fox first discovered the phenomenon; in the 1930s. It so happened that in a laboratory accident, upon the release of a cloud of crystalline PTC (phenylthiocarbamide), some colleagues of Arthur perceived the taste as bitter while others couldn’t taste anything. Thus began the contemplation between genetics and taste perception.
How Does It Work?
It has long been established that nutrition and environmental conditions are the two main factors that impact a person’s health. Nutrigenomics or nutritional genomics studies the interaction between genes and nutrition. Variations in our genes are believed to be potential indicators of how the body will respond to some nutrients.
It has been discovered that food preferences in individuals are shaped by the following:
- the environment (diet, health, and cultural influences)
- and genes, which play a role in developing your sensory perception of foods
Research shows that in addition to taste, eating habits like portion size, calorie intake, and preferences for protein, fats, and carbohydrates are all affected by our genetic makeup. In a rapidly growing field, scientists, researchers, geneticists, and nutritionists, among others, believe that the discovery of gene-nutrient interactions will have far-reaching effects on holistic wellness plans and serve as a vital tool to formulate customized diets tailored to individual genotypes.
A simple swab from the inside of your mouth is required to gather a sample for the DNA test for nutrigenomics. Most labs analyze as many as 70 or more different genes, with results typically taking a few weeks given the thorough analysis. Test results are scientifically backed and offer high accuracy to highlight potential health conditions or an estimated nutrient response.
Impact on Diet
Nutrigenomic testing could prove extremely helpful in highlighting aspects of your diet that greatly impact your health and can also lower the associated risk factors. Studies have proved that when people are equipped with genetic information about themselves, it improves their motivation to action health goals. An individual’s predisposition to certain ailments or food habits could provide valuable information to improve lifestyle, alter diet habits, or help treat various illnesses. Hypertension, for example, is largely genetic in most individuals, but solid proof of the risk could make the world’s difference in how you approach your diet and health. You can work with a dietician to modify your diet or create a solid nutrition plan that considers your genetic predispositions to live your healthiest life.
Nutrition Advice for the Future?
Standard nutritional diets have greatly impacted personal counseling over the years. Including individual-specific nutrition science could mean a more holistic treatment plan, especially for chronic health conditions. While nutrigenomics is available for clinical use, a wide-spread application and adoption of well-rounded treatment practices are required to observe long-reaching effects.
In conclusion, nutrigenomics is not an exact science, especially considering that genetic tendencies only highlight the potential and do not offer guarantees. Besides, a fair amount of trial-and-error is involved in diet, supplement, and workout routines. The future looks promising, though, considering how it could shift nutrition advice from a blanket rule for certain body types to dietary recommendations tailored to your genetics, preferences, and predispositions. Through further research and integration with health counseling, nutrigenomics can be a handy tool for a personalized approach when figuring out the best steps for your health and wellness.