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All of us know that eating a combo of cheesy supersize pizza, bulging burger, and an ice cream sundae is bad for our health. Yet, the craving for the yummy big Mac burger and a tasty cream cake from a roadside shop doesn’t seem to lessen.

Genetic implications of junk food

Are you someone who has repeatedly tried to control your sweet tooth but remain succumbed to the lures of junk food?

Maybe it is not your fault at all!

Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Maryland say so.

According to their findings eating junk food on a regular basis can lead to already known risks of cancer, inflammation, infections, allergic reactions, and permanent scarring in your DNA.

Yes, it is true.

Junk food can alter your DNA and carry on the scar for generations to come altering the mini-ecosystem that exists in our body forever.

It is the foremost cause of obesity and leads to various problems in the immune system and disturbs the intricate chemical makeup of the stomach.

But permanent damage to DNA comes as a shocker as well as a waking call for all the junk food lovers out there!

Gut bacteria and junk food

Our body has evolved over time to adjust to its surroundings and the same goes for the bacteria in the gut.

When you munch on too much junk food, the bacteria in your stomach get affected.

Research has shown that they have already undergone a lot of changes in their gene expressions due to our unhealthy food habits.

Even our DNA has been encoded with our poor dietary choices.

These changes are directly passed on to our off springs stretching across generations.

How it affects your DNA

A mother’s eating habits have a great potential in shaping her child’s flavor and preferences even before birth and determines the child’s choice of food, sugar or vegetable.

The new study also reveals the effect of paternal DNA in molding a child’s food habit.

The developmental imbalances created during a child’s critical developmental period could leave the baby’s immune system weak and may cause autoimmune and allergic diseases.

Save the future generations from obesity

The only way to counteract this alarming condition is a radical change of lifestyle.

The transfer of strained DNA can be stopped only if the present generation moves towards a healthier diet.

Food without salt is tasteless and unappetizing. But, too much salt intake is not good for health. Of course, our body needs salt but not as much as we consume. Only one gram of salt is essential for an adult in a day and even lesser is the need for salt in children. But people take a lot more salt than is medically recommended which is a concern.

1. High Blood Pressure

The pressure that the blood puts on the blood vessels is known as blood pressure. Many reasons like too much body weight, no exercise as well as too much salt intake could lead to the increase in blood pressure. This could lead to various health complications like a stroke or a heart attack. People think that as they grow older, it is natural for the blood pressure to grow. It is not so. If you control the daily amount of salt in your food, you can keep your blood pressure under check..

2. Stomach Cancer

If a person is high on salt consumption, he/she is more susceptible to getting stomach cancer. A bacteria known as H. Pyroli is the cause for stomach cancer. Now too much salt intake can damage stomach lining, which in turn would leave the stomach vulnerable to H. Pyroli, and increase the chances of developing stomach cancer.

3. Osteoporosis

A condition where the bones lose its density and become thin or brittle is known as osteoporosis. Many people around the world suffer from this disorder. Calcium is stored in our bones. Too much salt intake causes this calcium to be flushed out of the body through urine causing the bones to turn weak and brittle. This disorder is very common in women after menopause but this can be checked by consuming lesser amount of salt in the daily diet.

4. Diseases of the Kidney

The kidneys maintain the balance of fluids in the human body. They monitor the amount of fluid which is flushed out from the blood into the urine. Too much salt intake can cause malfunctioning of the kidneys. Also when calcium from the bones is flushed out by the urine, it could cause a deposit to form in the kidneys leading to kidney stone.

5. Retention of Water

Too much salt in the diet could lead to water being retained in the body which could lead to bloating. This can be cured by reducing salt consumption

 

Hence to reduce health hazards and to lead a normal life it is advisable that people eat more fresh food rather than tinned and junk food as they  all have huge quantities of salt in them and thereby increasing your overall salt consumption levels.

Gene-Environment Interaction

Our traits are basically divided into genetic and environmental. Genetic factors are the ones a person is born with, and a large chunk of these factors are inherited from the previous generations. Environmental factors include chemical, physical, nutritional, infectious and behavioural factors. Many prevailing diseases such as diabetes and cancer are caused by the complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. Both the factors will play a part in influencing the diseases. Some may be more influenced by the genetic factors while others will be largely affected by the environmental factors. But, most of the diseases are always associated with the genetic makeup and many inherited diseases can be influenced by environmental conditions.

Some genetic effects are seen only in certain environmental conditions

If you have a genetic predisposition to antisocial behaviour, you may not demonstrate the trait until you experience abuse or neglect in your childhood. If you have had a stress-free and normal  childhood, you will never express this specific genetic trait. The expression of a specific trait towards which you are genetically predisposed  can be prevented by protective environmental factors. If you have a predisposition to alcohol abuse and live in an alcohol-prohibited environment, it may not express itself. Thus, protective genetic factors have a comparatively less significant  effect if environmental exposure is strong.

Few environmental effects are visible only under certain genetic conditions

Response to environmental exposure depends on the genotype, which is a term that defines your genetic make-up for a specific trait/disease. If you have had stress in your early life, it may cause depression in later years. This is only when certain genotypes are present. A person’s genotype can also determine their response to specific medications and their side-effects through various biochemical mechanisms. There is an entire branch of science that studies this called Pharmacogenomics.

Sometimes, genetic effects can influence your environment too

 

 

If we can identify our genes and characterize their interactions with the environment, we can have intervention strategies to target them. Therefore, when studying the genetic make-up of individuals to determine their natural predisposition towards certain traits and diseases, it is very important to take into consideration the environmental factors like diet, lifestyle, work environment etc, to be able to characterize their inclination towards these traits and their risk for developing specific diseases.

 

 

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