“The more a law lays claim to universal validity, the less it does justice to the individual facts.”Carl Jung
For generations, Americans have ping ponged back and forth between different fad diets. Each new wave of research brings with it a new way of eating. We’re told fat is dangerous, eat more whole grains. Now we’re in the midst of another movement towards fat, with a greater emphasis on the dangers of sugar. Some advocate for the exclusion of all plant foods in favor of a carnivore diet. Others tout the benefits of beans and whole plant foods as enhancing longevity. Book after book is published telling all Americans how to eat.
the nutrition wars rage on, a new and growing body of science is teaching us that there is no one size fits all when it comes to diet.
Randomized controlled trials are rare in the nutrition world. After all, how can we expect to control the diets of large groups of people over long periods of time?
However, in 2018 a study appeared in the Journal Atherosclerosis that did just that. Called the Retterstøl study, researchers in Oslo measured changes in biomarkers of heart health for 30 healthy individuals placed on a high fat, low carbohydrate diet. The results were fascinating. Although the average “bad cholesterol” numbers went up by 44% on the high fat diet, variability between individuals was astonishing. Some in the high fat group only saw an increase in bad cholesterol of 5%. Other saw increases as high as 107%! Still others had to drop out after becoming very ill eating a high fat diet. Retterstøl teaches us that people respond very differently to dietary inputs based on genetics.
Our mission at Gene Food is to anticipate an individual’s response to a given diet and then assign them to a diet type that will work for them.
Gene Food’s resident geneticist, Dr. Aaron Gardner, created a scoring system that places people into one of twenty dietary categories based on how well they metabolize fats, carbohydrates, sugars, histamine, dairy and more. Individuals that are more likely to fall into the 107% increase in bad cholesterol group we saw in the Retterstøl study are assigned to a diet type that is more plant based. By contrast, individuals estimated to have greater ability to deal with a higher saturated fat diet are placed in a diet type that allows for a greater percentage of calories to come from fat. In addition to the broad diet categories, Gene Food’s system scores people for micronutrient balance, sterol absorption, LDL, genes, methylation strength and more. Each gene we report on is assigned a Science Grade, which gives our readers and customers the opportunity to see what the state of the research is for a given gene. Gene with a higher Science Grade are backed by more research, lower Science Grades represent genes that are just starting to emerge. While we do not believe genetics are the only factor in evaluating dietary choices, we see them as a foundational tool to help people get started sifting through the mountain of marketing material aimed at funneling them to one of the popular dietary camps.
The days of one size fits all nutrition are over.
To look, feel, and perform at our highest level, we must learn the science of our own bodies. At Gene Food, we hope to play a small role in this awakening towards a greater recognition of bio-individuality. To that end, we research and publish content to our blog with the goal of arming the public with the information they need to begin the process of creating a personal health regimen. We have also developed a groundbreaking genetics product that helps people establish a foundation for eating that we hope will last a lifetime.