Sunday, May 13, 2012

Diet Can Change Gene Expression Causing a Risk for Certain Diseases

Obesity is one of the world’s most serious problems. Experts worldwide are attempting to develop methods that will help obese persons lose weight. The incidence of many illnesses, including heart disease, hypertension, sleep apnea, and certain types of cancers, increases with obesity. A healthy diet is an important key to helping to reduce obesity. Even if there is no weight loss, a healthy diet might be important in lowering the risk of certain diseases. Indeed, research is showing that the food we eat can modify the way genes express themselves, causing certain cancers to grow.

Researchers at Temple University " compared colon tissue in non-colon cancer patients with normal colon tissue in patients with the disease. In the normal tissue from patients with colon cancer, the investigators found that epigenetic marks on genes involved in breaking down carbohydrates, lipids and amino acids - abundant in the fatty Western diet - appeared to have been retrained [leading to a higher risk of colon cancer]. Epigenetic marks are chemical modifications that serve as on/off switches for many genes.”       

Also, in a recent 60 minutes story  (April 2, 2012), a researcher, Robert Lustig, asserted that too much sugar in our diets is doing harm to our health. In fact, he said that sugar is toxic. And another investigator, Lewis Cantley, who was interviewed on the show, walked through a process where cancers, including breast and colon cancer, are modified by sugar in a way that enables cancers to use glucose to grow.

Because diet appears to be important in gene expression, having accurate nutrition-related food  information, including sugar content,  becomes even more important. Steps should be taken to provide crucial nutrition-related information where people eat and purchase food.  Accurate  information will give people the tools they need to adhere to a healthy diet.

To help clients stick to a healthy diet, weight loss service providers should put special emphasis on good diet counseling programs. These programs should emphasize the potential danger of too much sugar in the diet. Using effective counseling programs can help a weight loss center motivate a person in a way that boosts a person's chances of staying on the healthy and effective diet. Counseling programs that work can also enhance a center's reputation.

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