Thursday, January 15, 2009



In the Herald Sun, January 16, 2009, there was an article written, based on new research about genetics, diets and weight management. As it was a news story, the article had a one sided spin and was designed to shock. So i’ve taken the report and rewritten it in a more balanced way to highlight some very important points! Read on to find out more.....
The Article started: Melbourne scientists have proved for the first time that damage done by unhealthy eating is "remembered" in genetic controls - epigenetics - and turns off good genes needed to prevent diabetes, heart disease and other complications, the Herald Sun reports.

Lead researcher Assoc Prof Assam El-Osta, from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute team, proved that a single sugar hit, such as eating a chocolate bar, damaged the controls regulating the genes for two weeks.

This sounds shocking, and the article continued: The scientists said this meant that eating a chocolate would not only go straight to your hips, but also sit on your DNA. "It is this idea that you are what you eat, and perhaps that is a reflection of what your parents ate, and perhaps what your grandparents ate," he said.

Prof El-Osta warned that regular poor eating meant the damage would last for months or years, and the real problems caused by an unhealthy diet were deferred until later life.

Now this doom and gloom reporting carried on for a few hundred words when they should have mentioned that Prof El-Osta also said

"We think there is [ALSO] good epigenetic memory as well for individuals who have a good diet, not only for themselves but potentially for future generations”.

"If you have had five years [or a family history] of unhealthy control, where health enducing genes are switched off and ‘health damaging’ genes switched on, changing that for a couple of months to a good diet may not have a tremendous impact. "But going back to a good diet would have some effect 10 years later.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction!

A poor diet could lead to very serious changes that are remembered for many months, or even years BUT conversely a good diet will also lead to some SERIOUSLY GOOD changes that will also be remembered for years. A person with a family history of weight problems and poor eating has the power to reprogram their DNA to break the cycle.

The discovery explains why artery damage persists in diabetics even after they have long periods of therapy....AND it also explains that even people with a family history of problems has the power to overcome their genetic disposition....whether it is ‘good or bad’!

This is evidenced by Ann Mennan. Having experienced the problems of obesity, Ann Mennan, 44, and her son Tom, 18, are working to break the genetic cycle. Last year Ms Mennan was Weight Watchers Slimmer of the Year when she dropped from a morbidly obese 105kg to 71kg, while Tom shed 20kg after seeing his grandmother suffer diabetes, heart disease and then a stroke.

"It's really hard to tell if it is nature versus nurture," she said. "My mother had diabetes, her mother had diabetes and I ended up being diagnosed with diabetes much younger than they did, so I think there is a genetic predisposition.

"To hear that I can, by eating well, actually physiologically improve myself so I keep improving over time is really good to hear."

The Herald Sun article lead with the line ‘FAT parents are condemning their children to obesity and disease. Fat people reprogram controls over their DNA and pass on fatness and disease not only to their children, but to future generations’.

But this article is not providing a fair representation of the research. The idea of ‘condemming’ assumes that children would be unable to also reprogram their DNA. The truth is actually that they can.

What the research does prove is that: Dieting doesn't work because what you ate two months or two years ago is going to be reflected now through your DNA."

BUT that making a sustained long term lifestyle change has the power to change your genetic programming and overcome the habits of your parents and even your even your grandparents!

Ultimately, short term crash diets will never work!

But you’re in control of your DNA, and can even change your genetics!

The findings were reported in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.
To make sustainable lifestyle change visit

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