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What Is Genomic Testing?

Genomic testing is becoming more and more popular. Let’s look at what it is.

You are born with your genes, many of which contain small errors called SNPs (pronounced “snips”) that can predispose you to certain health conditions or affect how your body processes medications.

Unlike single gene mutations that cause inherited genetic diseases, gene SNPs don’t act alone; they can interact with one another, the environment, and a person’s dietary and lifestyle choices to create health or disease. While we can’t change our genes, we can change the environment we put them in and make healthier lifestyle choices. Therein lies the power of genomics.

Genomic testing identifies gene SNPs and then enables personalized evidenced-based health interventions.

One example is pharmacogenomics–a new branch of medicine that identifies gene SNPs and how they affect a person’s ability to metabolize a prescribed drug or over-the-counter medication. For a clinician or healthcare professional, genomic testing can help determine what medication(s) are most effective and have minimal risk of adverse effects. Each person can then get the right drug, at the correct dose, delivered at the right time.

Genomic testing can also guide individualized dietary and lifestyle strategies in the prevention and treatment of many common chronic diseases. The results of these tests can help tailor specific nutritional and lifestyle choices to improve health outcomes for individuals with a wide range of chronic illnesses—including obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and emotional disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety).

This branch of personalized medicine is nutritional genomics – also known as nutrigenomics – and focuses on how food and lifestyle can “talk” to a person’s genes. Genomic test results help a clinician recommend the right foods, the right amount of nutrients, and the right lifestyle choices to create a healthier food-gene conversation, and more efficiently manage, reduce, or even prevent disease.

These DNA-directed disease prevention and treatment strategies have created a revolution in healthcare– not only improving health outcomes but also saving healthcare resources for companies.

Chile Bans Tony the Tiger in their Fight Against Obesity

The Chilean government, facing skyrocketing rates of obesity, is waging war on unhealthy foods with a host of marketing restrictions, mandatory packaging redesigns and labeling rules aimed at transforming the eating habits of 18 million people.

This is world’s most ambitious attempt to remake a country’s food culture, and could be a model for how to turn the tide on a global obesity epidemic that researchers say contributes to four million premature deaths a year.

It’s hard to overstate how significant Chile’s actions are — or how hard it has been to get there in the face of the usual pressures,” said Stephen Simpson, director of the Charles Perkins Center, an organization of scholars focused on nutrition and obesity science and policy.

The multi billion dollar food and soda industries have exerted those pressures to successfully stave off regulation in many other countries.

Since the food law was enacted two years ago, it has forced multinational companies like Kellogg to remove iconic cartoon characters from sugary cereal boxes and banned the sale of candy like Kinder Surprise that use trinkets to lure young consumers. The law prohibits the sale of junk food like ice cream, chocolate and potato chips in Chilean schools and proscribes such products from being advertised during television programs or on websites aimed at young audiences.

Do you think this is possible in the United States?

The Obesity Code – Unlocking the Secrets to Weight Loss

weightThe Obesity Code is a great book. I wanted to review the key concepts here. The subtitle is “Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss”. Jason Fung, MD does a great job explaining how weight gain and obesity are driven by hormones and only understanding the effects of insulin and insulin resistance can we achieve lasting weight loss. This is the same philosophy I use in my Sugar Buster Program.

The truth is, there are multiple overlapping pathways that lead to obesity. The common uniting theme is the hormonal imbalance of high insulin levels.

Here are 5  basic truths.

  1. All diets work in short term, but we have been ignoring the long-term problem of insulin resistance.
  2. Obesity is a hormonal disorder of fat metabolism.
  3. Insulin is the main hormone that drives weight gain.
  4. The main approach is to reduce added sugars. insulin levels.
  5. There are multiple ways to reduce insulin and we need an integrated approach.

Most “diets” attack one part of the problem at a time. The probability of success is higher with a broad-based approach. It is important to individually address the cause of high insulin levels. For example, if chronic sleep deprivation is the main problem causing weight gain, then just reducing refined grains is not going to be the answer.

When it comes to the question of what to eat, here are Dr Fung’s basic steps.

  1. Reduce consumption of added sugars.
  2. Reduce consumption of refined grains.
  3. Moderate your protein intake.
  4. Increase your consumption of natural fats.
  5. Increase your consumption of fiber.

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