One of the reasons why we are confused with diet is because we hear different stories from people we trust with contradictory outcomes. We are less likely to change if we are not completely certain of the results.
“Kevin lost 20 pounds on a plant-based diet. He feels more energetic and his skin has cleared up. His sleep improved, and he doesn’t feel brain fog in the afternoon. He is expecting to stay on this diet for life.”
“Jane heard about how we can improve our life by eating what Paleolithic humans ate. She started a paleo diet and improved her digestive issues: no more heartburn. Her long-standing anxiety is gone. She has more energy and enjoy life to its fullness.”
“Carol has been struggling with health issues all her life. She was diagnosed with arthritis at the age of 30. She changed her diet multiple times and saw improvement but still could feel pain in her joints from time to time. She developed multiple food intolerance and environmental sensitivities. She then realized she felt her best while being on a carnivore diet. She is thriving, no more pain. She eats only animal products and absolutely no plant.”
“Sebastian is an average guy. He is not on a diet and his BMI is normal. He eats and drink anything he can get his hand on from veggies to donut. His blood tests are normal.”
“Marie is 94 years old. She is still very active, and her cognitive functions are exceptional for her age. Most of her life, she ate a western diet, drank beer and smoke occasionally.”
How can this be possible? Who is lying?
Hint: they are telling the truth, we just don’t know the whole story (more on that later).
Humans evolved to adapt. We are genetically variable. We could drop an ability or two to save energy.
Adaptability is the reason why some people are intolerant to lactose and some are not. We used to lose our ability to digest lactose around two-year-old or when it was time for us to be weaned. However, some of our ancestors came from places where dairy herds could be raised safely (Europe) because the climate wasn’t too hot and have developed the ability to digest milk. On the other hand, if your ancestors are coming from very hot (or even very cold climates such as Inuit) you may not have the ability to digest milk after infancy.
This is only one example on how our body adapted depending on climate, food availability etc.
This may surprise you but we’ll probably adapt to junk food if we continue to do so but should we? It will get really scary before it gets better. My children and I are living today. I require a diet that suit me today, not generations down the road.
Your genes can tell you how your body behave. You can test your genomes with a saliva sample. You’ll get the result within a few weeks.
Our ability to digest carbs is also in our genes. You may produce a lower or greater quantity of amylase and this is very important in your quest of the best diet for yourself.
Most of you probably realized a while ago that no specific diet can suit everyone.
There are three main variants influencing the diet you should follow:
– Your genes
– Your medical conditions
– Your microbiome
Genetic testing is somehow recent for the general population. We are learning about our potential and weaknesses. Only a decade ago, those tests were only available to the wealthy. Now, you can have a good understanding of your genome for less than $200.
Having a bad gene for something doesn’t mean your genome is going to behave badly. We have methylation for that. Don’t be scared.