Join Our Community

Bathing Your Genes in Junk Food?

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

Bathing Your Genes in Junk Food?

Food is so much more than fuel. How your food talks to our immune system.
Frank  Lipman
Frank Lipman More by this author
Oct 21, 2009 at 10:00 AM

How your genes are expressed is determined by what you surround them with or feed them. That means food is a primary determinant of how your genes are expressed, whether for good health or disease. The revolutionary new science, Nutrigenomics, the science of how food talks to our genes, tells us that food contains information and “hidden instructions” which are communicated directly to your genes.

Armed with this information, your genes commandeer various metabolic actions and affect millions of critical biological processes, including cholesterol levels, aging, hormone regulation, weight gain and loss, and much more. Eat the right foods and it will send instructions to your genes for good health, eat the wrong foods and you send messages for disease.

Just as a computer program won’t function well when it gets fed bad data, neither will your body. Once you understand that food is “data” or complex information that the body uses to direct the multifaceted actions that keep us vibrantly alive, it’s easy to understand that loading up on junk food is like taking the fast lane to a giant system failure. Foods loaded with sugar, trans fats, chemicals, and pesticides, and foods processed beyond recognition, are simply “bad data” for human consumption. Eat badly regularly, and your body stops working properly.

It makes perfect sense, when you think about it. When you bathe your genes in a dangerous environment, like the one created when you eat junk food, your genes “miscue” metabolic actions and that can trigger disease. Bottom line: the food you eat affects the functioning of your genes.

The way we see food at the moment is that it is basically a delivery system for nutrients, that food contains protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. This belief system maintains that the value of food is in its nutrients and not in the food itself. As with the way we see the body in Modern Western Medicine, it is reductionist and does not see food as a whole.

What we are finding out is that there is so much more to food than just the nutrients we have discovered thus far. Food is packed with thousands of compounds that are present in a complex and dynamic relationship to one another. We are only beginning to understand it all and to think we can break it down to those few parts we have deciphered is naive.

Don’t be reductionist about your food and try to work out the calories or even protein, fat and carbohydrate percentages to eat well. Although you should know how to read food labels, most of the food you eat should not come with a label …vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grass-fed meats, organic eggs and chickens, etc. The “foods” that tend to be bad for your genes are usually man-made. I call them food substances to distinguish them from real food.

So although there is no one right diet for everyone (as we are all different), try to eat as close to nature as possible because the further removed food is from its source, the more likely it is of being a food substance and not real food and the less good data it will contain. As Michael Pollan says in his brilliant book, In Defense of Food, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” He too is talking about eating real food.

About Author
Frank  Lipman
Frank Lipman, M.D., is the founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City, where his personal blend of Western and alternative medicine has helped thousands of people—including celebrities like Kyra Sedgwick, David Letterm Continue reading