by Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP
We all know that our hair color, eye color, freckles and personality traits and more are inherited from our parents. Could this be true about our weight? Scientists long believed that set point – which is our body to fat ratio within a 10-15 pound weight range – was inherited. It’s also important to remember that our bodies like stability – so our metabolisms may speed up or slow down as we move to the outer limits of our set point weight.
Over the past twenty years, new studies are showing that set point isn’t entirely unchanging and predestined. In 2010, German scientists published an article stating “Searching for the genetic background of excess weight gain in a world of abundance is misleading since the possible biological control is widely overshadowed by the effect of the environment”. And here’s the good news – environment includes our eating habits and lifestyle choices.
Nutrigenomics is a new and emerging field of research that investigates the effects nutrients has on our genes in both disease and health scenarios. Finally! There’s research which is showing how our food intake affects us! Your food choice not only talks to your jeans…but your GENES. The information our genes receive from our food can be a powerful influence on them to respond in ways that promote good health and potentially prevent disease.
Our genes receive messages from our nutritional choices and also our pattern of emotions. Creating a food plan full of nutrient rich foods from all food groups is a good first step. Limiting processed foods, sugar and gluten which are known inflammatory creating substances and eating regularly to keep blood sugar stable all send good messages.
Dr. Candace Pert, author of The Molecules of Emotion, talks about the sources of negative emotions to reduce the flow of negative messages being sent to our genes and cells. Trauma from our past can be a source of daily sadness and anger. With awareness, these messages can be changed. I’ve seen women have remarkable changes when they are.
Influencing your set point doesn’t happen all at once. Insuring that your nutritional needs are met, your emotional health is recognized, your stress levels are addressed as well as maintaining healthy stress levels will all help create the balance needed.