Genetics and dieting
Do you have a friend or know someone who can eat whatever they like and not gain an ounce of weight? Does it annoy you that all it takes for you to break your diet, or set you back is to take one glance at a potato or a commercial of dominos pizza? Yeah, I feel your pain.
Although it seems unfair, the fact is genetics play a major role here. The term for this is called genetic polymorphism.
What is genetic polymorphism?
Genetic polymorphisms are physiological differences within our genes that make us unique. Some of these differences are very noticeable; such as the color of your hair, what size shoe you wear, or how tall you are, whereas others can be minor.
In the case of dieting, how our bodies react to nutrition can also differ. What may benefit you can be completely different for me based on my genetic makeup. For example, eating broccoli for some can trigger detoxifiers in the liver which can activate a gene for cancer prevention. However for those who do not have that gene, our bodies will seek those detoxifiers from other sources. That’s not to say you should put down your broccoli in exchange for a slice of pepperoni pizza; our bodies will still pull the nutrients needed and use them elsewhere.
That said, no one diet works for all. Instead of restricting foods and going cold turkey on the aforementioned pepperoni pizza, try keeping a journal on what you eat. Be sure to include notes on how those meals made you feel for the day, or even the week if you’ve planned your meals ahead of time.
Here’s a challenge:
Ok, let’s start with a small challenge. For the course of a week, try eating the same breakfast (or even eating a breakfast for some of you who skip this meal). Before your next meal (usually 2-3 hours after), log into a journal how you felt during that short period of time. Were you productive? Did you feel tired and sluggish? Write it down, and by the end of the week, assess what you’ve consumed and see where you can make improvements.
The following week, try removing one or two of those ingredients. For example, did you include sugar in your coffee? Did you drink enough water? Small changes can have a big effect on your performance.
Good luck and enjoy that pizza, no wait, I mean broccoli!