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Doughnuts and DNA – is there a connection?

“Eat what you like, it doesn’t matter!” is something I hear a lot on social media and it makes me cringe. Of course it flipping matters. What we eat has a direct and indirect effect on how we function, right down to the DNA in each of our cells (there are 1.5 million cells in a retina alone). Eating a nutrient-dense diet as opposed to a beige, veg-dodging and hyper-processed one is the difference between trying to run your car on high-grade fuel or orange squash – which one will give the car the best performance and longevity?

DNA nutrigenomics nutrigenetics nutrition

Ok, let’s get some science goggles on for a minute. I want to help you to understand that food is information. But what the heck does that even mean?

On the outside of each and every one of your trillions of cells are different receptors. Think of them like little feelers if you like, each waiting for just the right ‘thing’ to come along in your bloodstream or the fluid that surrounds your cells, so they can grab it.

When food is broken down it ends up as tiny tiny particulates that flow past/around the cells via the bloodstream and fluid that surrounds them. The cells’ ‘feely’ receptors pick up the bits that they need and take them inside the cell.

Note: the cells aren’t picking up a toast crumb or anything, but the micronutrients and chemical compounds that have been processed by your gut and extracted from what you’ve eaten – vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and so on.

Once inside, the particles trigger signals that are sent to the cell nucleus, where the magic happens. Think of the nucleus as an incredible computer, better than any we have created, that has the code to make and maintain all the required bits of you. When you think that the lining of your gut is replaced every seven days and its surface area is the size of a tennis court you can see how much work there is to do.

So yes, the particles ‘tickle’ the nucleus in a certain way to trigger it to press ‘go’ on the exact code to make different protein shapes, say for a cell that makes a bit of your gut lining or eye or hair or skin or heart or blood or a hormone or any of the other gazillions of body molecules and parts.

How much healthy cell signalling material do you think a doughnut might contain, compared to a veg stir fry or some fish with potatoes and veg or any whole and healthy meal? How about a can of Coke or some low sugar squash up against the banging nutrition credentials of a glass of milk?

See why these things matter? See what I mean when I get over-excited about dietary variety and eating your 30+ plant foods a week?

That’s not to say never have a doughnut but people who live on beige and ultra processed foods are not getting the cell signalling that they could if they ate a wider variety of nutrient-dense food. Worse, they are often consuming food additives whose chemical components are not what our cells have evolved to recognise.

Eating a whole food diet that’s low in ultra-processed food is being kind to your DNA. And then your DNA is kind to you, love it.

Glasses off now 🙂

Thank you for reading this article. Please note that while we share a lot of awesome information and research you should be aware our articles are strictly for informational purposes and do not constitute medical advice intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.

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