Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Nutrigenomics and Day #5

I have to admit, I know very little about nutrigenomics. What I do know is that certain races are seemingly more susceptible to various disease states when compared with Caucasian Americans.

The Nutritional Genomics Conference defines their mission as:

The mission of the Center is to reduce and ultimately eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities resulting from environment x gene interactions, particularly those involving dietary, economic, and cultural factors. Our goal is to devise genome-based nutritional interventions to prevent, delay, and treat diseases such asthma, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and prostate cancer. To achieve this goal, the Center is taking a multidisciplinary approach to develop culturally competent methods and novel technologies to elucidate the complex interactions between environmental triggers, genes, and disease.”

Arguably, low socioeconomic status and chronic disease risk trend in congruence. There are those individuals, however, who “eat eggs and bacon every morning and have perfect cholesterol!” Similarly, reasons for such phenomenon, if you will, could be discovered.

But wouldn’t it be incredible for physicians and dietitians to hand patients a completely individualized set of nutritional guidelines based on their genetic makeup? Such information could help prevent diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Genetics are no longer the untouchable, unknown component to health and well-being…they’re emerging as a key player in the practice of medicine.

Nutrition scientist, Tim Carr, states, “We’re no longer dismissing it [genetics]. We’re trying to figure out how that works.” Nutrigenomics assesses genetic manipulation through the diet to improve chronic disease outcomes and prognoses [1].  

The University of Nebraska – Lincoln is leader in the nutrigenomic field. The team at UNL stated, “Since Nebraska is where America’s diet begins, it is appropriate that UNL would be a leader in the nutrigenomic field.” UNL team leader, Vicki Schlegel stated, “You’re making agriculture a pharmacy, basically.” Crops and livestock are being developed in order to implement findings produced by nutrigenomic research [1].

Any opinions on nutrigenomics or individualized nutrition guidelines based off genetic findings? I find this fascinating and look forward to hearing more on the latest research performed in the field of nutrigenomics.

Last night, I made a pretty amazing creation: Buffalo Chicken Salad. Mark and I just love buffalo wings, but I enjoy finding healthier ways to enjoy the bold, spicy flavor. I whipped this up last night:

3-4 cups Romaine lettuce, chopped
2 ounces boneless, skinless chicken, cooked and cubed
2 Tbsp bleu cheese
1 1/2 Tbsp Hidden Valley Ranch, Light
1 1/2 Tbsp buffalo wing sauce (low-fat)
1 tomato, sliced

Place lettuce in a low bowl or plate. Top with chicken and tomatoes. Drizzle with wing sauce and ranch. Sprinkle on bleu cheese and enjoy!

Yesterday's diabetic diet looked like this:

2 whole wheat waffles (2 carbs)
1 Tbsp peanut butter (0 carbs)
cappuccino with 2 Tbsp sugar-free International Delight (0 carbs)
1 medium banana (2 carbs)
     Total: 4 carbs

1 serving Baked Goat Cheese and Roasted Winter Squash over Garlicky Fettuccine (3 1/2 carbs)

1/2 cup Waldorf salad (0.5 carbs) 
     Total: 4 carbs

1 pear (1 carb)

1 cup potato soup (1 carbs)
5 wheat crackers (1 carb)
3 cups Buffalo Chicken Salad (1 carbs)
     Total: 3 carbs

3 graham cracker squares (1 carb)
2 Tbsp peanut butter (0 carbs)
     Total: 1 carb

[1]. ‘Personalized Nutrition’ is goal of Nutrigenomics initiative. High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal. October 5, 2009.


  1. So how's the first week of eating like a diabetic going? Harder or easier than you thought? I think it's great that you're doing it. Keep it up! :)

  2. It is hard when I'm in social situations or not on a regular schedule. All-in-all, it's just planning and balancing your meals. It is very humbling, however. I feel like I'm learning a lot! Hope all is well half way around the world! I continue reading your blog! What is it, 7pm there? Crazy!!!


  3. When I first started my master's program at OSU, my first professor sort of put me down for being and RD. In his opinion, RD diet recommendations are stupid because "EVERYTHING has to do with genes, and our recs. should be specific to the genotype of the person"....I was like ummm, great, this is gonna be a FUN year!
    Of course now I think there really is something to this nutrigenomics. I am hoping there will be a seminar at the FNCE about this topic. I'd love to learn more!

  4. I actually did a paper on nutrigenomics in grad school at Michigan. Stupid 25 page paper! hehe But what I found out is actually not as good as you may think. All of the diet plans that come out of it are essentially all the same, and are basically all what the food guide pyramid say anyways. The whole process seemed kinda shady too. Like you just swab your mouth and send it to this place and they tell you to eat more fruit because of it. I mean hey if this gets people to eat healthier then great, but I wouldn't waste my money on it any time soon. Maybe just more research needs to go into it before you have me sold on the idea.