Plate It Right!

To bite or not to bite

Eating habits differ from one person to another. Each of us have our own preferred gourmet taste, portion sizes and sweet cravings – to name a few.

Whether you’re a foodie who loves to hit every new restaurant in town, or love nibbling on Oreos as a midnight snack or even if you are someone who savours each bite and eats very slowly, there are two common hormones that decide if you’re hungry or feeling full.

These two regulatory hormones in our body are leptin and ghrelin. Leptin suppresses the appetite while ghrelin increases the appetite. They collectively influence the food–energy balance in our body. Circulating levels of leptin and ghrelin are responsible for neurological signals that make you stop eating when you are full or vice versa.

Different phenotypes observed in food habits

The “Nibbler” Suppressed appetite- both
genetic/environmental factors
The Over-eater, generally overweight/obese Increased appetite,
irregular meal-times, also suffers from leptin resistance
The “Crash” eater, both
lean/obese phenotypes
Eats nothing for hours
together, and then eats everything in sight. Hormones and metabolism usually
goes out of whack.
The Lucky one (also known
as the “thin-fat”
Eats anything and gets away
with it. Very high Basal Metabolic Rate.

Why you eat the way you do-

Genetic variations in several genes are linked with energy balance, hormone regulation and dietary preferences. Screening for these genetic factors can be an effective tool to assess your metabolic function and eating behaviour.

Example of a “genetic effect”

Normal gene sequence → Regular hormonal function → Appetite “on” and “off” at regular intervals

Variation in gene sequence → Hormones go out of sync → Appetite “on” → Overeating

How does our genetic test help?

  • Long-lasting results
  • Reduced (or zero) probability of weight re-gain
  • Holistic wellness design rather than “poster-girl/boy look”
  • Best suited for an individual’s innate food preferences

Surprised to read the last part? Yes, the best-kept secret to effective weight management is that ‘you must please your palate’.
By analyzing one’s basic predisposition towards food intake, genetic testing takes nutritional medicine to a new level. A genetically-personalized diet plan would bring optimal results, rather than a rhetorical ‘yes to fruits’ and ‘no to sweets’. Before you get yourself a monthly diet/fitness chart, get tested with SlimGene or MyFitGene. Know the real ‘you’ to see a better you!

About the Author

Rasika is the product specialist and scientific liaison for Mapmygenome’s personal genomics portfolio. With eight years of experience in sequencing, molecular biology, genetic data analysis and reporting, she currently works in the product team at Mapmygenome. Her key responsibilities include genomics product development, data curation, scientific content creation and management, data analysis and technical support for business development. Her key strength is a robust understanding of consumer genomics, including specialized areas such as pharmacogenomics, nutrigenomics and sports genomics. Rasika is also a certified group fitness trainer and Pilates (Balanced Body) Mat instructor.