Nutrigenomics has the ability to provide answers to our genetic make-up and how food will affect our genes. How we respond to food is dependant on our Ethnicity. Having said that, globalisation has encouraged new adventures, new foods and cultures but has also led people to choose partners outside the traditional “tribe”, myself included. The impact of this is that possibly our future generations may now know what their exact ancestry is and hence Nutrigenomics may provide useful answers as to where specific dietary and lifestyle adjustments can be made to counteract any “less desirable” SNP´s we may have inherited.
A new published study in the European Journal of clinical nutrition has studied the effects of ethnicity on Resting Metabolic rate (RMR), in essence how quickly you burn calories when you are not physically active. It is well-known that RMR contributes to 60-80% of total energy expenditure and is typically low in people of African descent in comparison to those of European descent.
In this study 141 African-American men and women (average age of 74) were measured using indirect calorimetry (an accurate measurement of RMR) and ancestry informative markers were used to detect what % of their genetic make-up was African or European in addition body composition was assessed.
It turned out that those individuals of total African descent (higher % of African ancestry) had a lower RMR of 160kcal/d in comparison to those of European descent who had a higher RMR. The authors concluded that population differences in RMR may be because of genetic variants.
Apart from Nutrigenomics not being included in this study, it would have been nice to see a study like this in a younger population group and have a better indication of their medical and diet history.
Nutrigenomics in the weight loss arena can help in identifying SNP´s in genes that are associated with Lipid absorption and metabolism, metabolic rate and also exercise preference. The information gathered can aid in setting realistic goals that can motivate and support individuals who may have been struggling to lose weight for a while. In this case, knowing your ancestry can help to provide answers as to why you may not be losing weight as expected. 160kcal/d may not sound like a lot, but add it up over a week and it ends up being a staggering amount if you do not keep up with physical activity or follow a healthy diet.
For more guidance and personalisation of your diet and lifestyle according to your genes, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org