But it is quite clear that for many people, a low fat/high carbohydrate diet is an eating plan laced with problems. Under this plan the world has become significantly heavier and the number of people succumbing to the so called lifestyle diseases keeps climbing.
Increasingly scientific evidence supports a low carbohydrate/high fat diet……
But what do the genes say ?
Well the first response might be that it really depends on YOUR genes, this is the basis of a new wave of diet advice based on nutrigenomics.
But research from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology suggests, that when it comes to the macronutrient composition of the human diet, there is a one size fits all answer from the genes.
The genes answer is
one-third protein, one-third fat and one-third carbohydrates.
Feeding the genes
The researchers came up with this answer after feeding slightly overweight people different macronutrient combos and then taking their genetic temperature.
The genetic temperature was taken by monitoring the expression of hundreds of genes.
Diet shakes not steaks
One of the biggest challenges to conducting a study like this, is to make sure that you only compare apples with apples. This is quite difficult using real food, because a tomatoe doesn’t just have carbohydrates in, but it has a whole bunch of other nutrients, which could potentially contribute to gene expression.
To keep all the other nutrients the same, the participants weren’t fed real food, but instead received specially formulated shakes. Adopting this approach meant that the diets were identical in terms of their micronutrient composition so vitamin, mineral and omega levels did not vary.
The only difference between the shakes was the ratio of carbohydrates, protein and fat.
- Diet number 1 : consisted of 65 % calories from carbs, 15 % protein and 20 % fat.
- Diet number 2 : dropped the carbs to 30 %, proteins to 30 % and fat to 40 %.
Participants went onto both diets for a period of 6 days, in between the two powdered diets they spent a week eating normally i.e. REAL FOOD. Blood samples were taken at the start of the diet, as well as at the end.
Too much carbohydrate turns up the heat
The big surprise for the team was that the standard “healthy” diet, which sets carbohydrates at around 65 % of calorie intake, got the genetic temperature to rise significantly.
Many of the genes zinging in response to the high carbohydrate load, turned out to be genes implicated in inflammation. The type of inflammation you would expect to see in the blood, if you were fighting an infection, such as the flu. The turned on genes left participants a little hotter, a little redder, a little less energetic and sharp.
The rise was not restricted to certain individuals, it happened in all the participants.
The rise was not because people were eating too much. The calories of each person had been adjusted so that calories in matched calories out for each person.
“Low” carbohydrate diet a better option
When participants followed the “low” carbohydrate option, the genetic temperature did not rise significantly.
A diet which includes some carbohydrates, not too little and not too much, seems to be the way to go.
The rule of thirds
Photographers use the rule of thirds to get perfect photos. All of us, whether we’re dieting or not, should apply the rule of thirds to our plates to get “perfect” metabolism.
Every meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner should include….
a third carbohydrate, a third protein and a third fat.
It may take a little practise, but this is do able !
Dieting is about quantity
Applying the rule of thirds to your diet will take a lot of the stress out of dieting.
Everyone in the family can eat the same meal. As the dieter, you’ll need to adjust the quantity you eat, obeying the fundamental principle of dieting which is
calories in must be less than calories out.Feed your genes – press release from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Interested in learning more about the effects of food on your body chemistry ?
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