Healthy Eating Varies According to Genes, Location and Reactions to Macronutrients

When we read “one-size-fits-all” diet advice, it is easy to feel excluded or alienated. Mentions of “5 a day” or “fruit and vegetables” lack context. A gathering of all the information on fat or water soluble vitamins, minerals, macronutrients, dietary fats and specifically foods containing EPA and DHA Omega 3 fatty acids presents a huge amount of overlap but does not add up to the whole picture for many people.

We need to sort the wheat out from the chaff in terms of objective, fact-based information and remove it from the overbearing amount of opinion, advice, conflicts of interest and profit-led agendas.

Humans must trust their own instincts, otherwise loud voices from advertising will overwhelm us – Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

In the United Kingdom, we do not get enough sunlight in the winter to make vitamin D. This was confirmed on the NHS website, when I first saw this information aged 49 in February 2020. The message must have been whispered as I have spent my life, as my parents did before me, voraciously digging for information to stay healthy. Sometime during 2020, in the midst of a health crisis with COVID-19 spreading, the message about nationwide vitamin D deficiency was downplayed into a mere beauty tip.

Lack of time outdoors can make us morose and less sociable, which leads to increased social anxiety – Image by Nina Evensen from Pixabay

Meanwhile, TV adverts for processed, branded and packaged foods, advertised for health such as containing millions of live cultures for the gut, are branded “high in vitamin D”. These taglines are wildly misleading for a number of reasons. Firstly, we would need to eat too much of any foods to get enough vitamin D to replace the lack of sunlight in the winter. For people, who work indoors full-time and do not get enough time with their skin exposed to the sun will be deficient in Vitamin D and no amount of over-priced, miniature pots of live cultures are going to deliver a sufficient amount.

Here, the NHS are blatantly lying to us, with mixed messages, which do not hang together. If we could get enough vitamin D from the diet in autumn and winter, so can we during the summer, when indoors?

During the autumn and winter, you need to get vitamin D from your diet because the sun is not strong enough for the body to make vitamin D.

NHS website, with vitamins and minerals now tucked behind “conditions” updated August 2020, despite the fact that pharmaceuticals use the fact that supplements are not treatments to put people off taking them, even though getting enough nutrients prevents illness and promotes recovery.
No mention of immune function from sufficient vitamin D, nor seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which most Brits suffer every winter.
In February 2020, before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, this clearly said “we do not get enough sunlight to make vitamin between October and April and therefore recommend a 10mcg D3 or D2 supplement. Oh how this has changed! NHS Website 2020

Therefore the NHS contradicts itself on its own page about vitamin D. I’m sure by now you are sick of all the political and capitalist battles being fought in the field of your own health. What is the answer? How do we navigate this minefield of corruption, which has infiltrated our public sector healthcare system?

I almost threw my bottle of Vitamin D3 away, which I had bought a year before after sifting through all the information and pharmaceutical smears about supplements I could find, as it was 25mcg, more than double the recommended 10mcg. In January 2020, I was an health conscious 49 year old, combing the Internet for reliable and trustworthy information about what to eat to stay healthy and live-longer. My mother and her mother died at my current age of 50.

Grandparents provide children up to the age of 8 with more confidence and security through acceptance – Image by Aline Dassel from Pixabay Eresmama website – a website, which provides emotional education in Spain. Los niños que crecen con los abuelos son más seguros y felices

Luckily, recognising the NHS rhetoric’s congitive-dissonance (when conclusions presented completely contradict the facts they are claimed to be drawn from) bore me out and I took 25mcg of D3 in February 2020. The difference was immediate, which suggested that I was deficient in Vitamin D. I had felt tired after recovering from a bad cold and wondered if my dose of levothyroxine was too low. I’d searched food intolerances, read everything I could and thought about sunny holidays in Menorca, where I would bounce out of bed and be full of energy. The D3 supplement lifted my mood and energy levels.

In Menorca, the warm sea, sun, outdoors and locally grown, nutritious seafood, salads and other meals provide natural health

This is what led me to the idea of Hearth, a means to bring information about the micronutrients we need from food and other sources to your fingertips on your mobile phone. The aim of Hearth is to be a quick and easy information tool, for use by consumers, nutritionists for their clients, employers to keep their workforces health and insurers to gauge their customers’ health.

As a result of 18 months of research, testing, observation and discussion with others about how they respond to various nutrients, when considered in context of their genes, where they live and their lifestyle, our own unique variations in diet seem to come down to:

Macronutrients

Our response to macronutrients can depend greatly, according to our genes and food available where we live. Here are macronutrients, fats, protein and carbohydrates, broken down into subsections, complete or part proteins, types of Omega fatty acids and saccharides, which are ways to identify types of sugar in carbohydrates.

From Hearth app data on Google Sheets here

Firstly, if we consider our genes and skin colour, we can determine how much vitamin D we absorb from sunlight, which can also tell us how much we store. People who are allergic to foods, such as nuts and fish are those whose genes do not want them to store fat soluble vitamins at all. These people have evolved to get what they need from their environment.

Then we might consider how much sunlight we get where we live. Even the earliest Stone Age inhabitants of the United Kingdom would not get everything they need from their diet alone. Hence some of the dishes associated with England, such as fish and chips and a full English breakfast: they include variety, protein, fat, carbohydrates and fibre. Although potatos only reached our shores with Sir Walter Raleigh in Tudor Times, we would have gotten nutrition from roots and tubers.

Time spent in the forest nurtures our health and immunity – Image by SplitShire from Pixabay

According to a variety of reports on nature and preventative medicine, forest bathing – spending time in the forest, which is “Shinrinyoku” in Japanese – boost our immune function. With more claims on food packaging labels to sell us products, instead of educating us about how to stay fit and healthy and prevent disease, we are moving ever further away from nature and all its bounty. This Irish TImes article on complementary medicine from 1999 shows how far backwards we have come this millenium.

Complementary medicines, such as herbal, homeopathy or Chinese, work more like vaccines than conventional medicines, to prime the immune system to fight the infection, which means the dose reduces as natural defences takeover during recovery. They cannot be equated with pharmaceutical medicine, which can attack the symptoms, making people more addicted to pain relief – Image by Pexels from Pixabay

If we live in the UK and do not get enough sunlight, we then need consider how to get enough to be healthy. However, those with darker skins might not store fat soluble vitamins in the same way as those with pale skin with origins from northern Europe. In fact, those that cannot store vitamin D or certain fats might be allergic to polyunsaturated fats, which includes fish, nuts, beans and legumes. Meanwhile, someone from a Mediterranean gene pool may react to high glucose carbohydrates such as dissacharides include milk, table sugar and starch.

An easier way to work out which foods will provide you with your essential daily nutrition.

Firstly, there are the micronutrients we all need from food. These are water soluble and fat soluble vitamins, macrominerals and trace elements. Foods that deliver also fall into one or another of the macronutrient categories, which means you would be getting amino acids, fatty acids and carbohydrates.

From my app pilot data found here.
From Hearth pilot App Data found here

By choosing foods you enjoy, which you already know you are neither allergic, sensitive or intolerant to is a very good start to a healthy diet, which is good for your mental, emotional and physical health, prevention against disease, immunity and micronutrients aid recovery too.

We have learned to fish and gather seafood such as limpets, crabs and shrimps from a young age, which may be a genetic instinct, even before we require the nutrition. Disliking fish from a toxic response as a child can stay with us into adulthood – Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Let’s say you are allergic to fish and nuts and take supplements to ensure you get enough vitamin D3 during the winter. If you are a vegetarian, you would avoid saturated fats, as that group contains dairy, fish, eggs and meat. Through conversation with people living in the UK with nut and fish allergies, I have found that they are not allergic to avocado or olives, which means that monounsaturated fats would provide them with the means to absorb vitamin D from a supplement or diet.

Fat Soluble Vitamin D – best absorbed from sunlight

Of course, if you live in a hot, sunny country, you are unlikely to need a D3 or D2 supplement or to absorb vitamin D through food, as your requirement would be absorbed very quickly from the sun. Perhaps this why people who live in norther, cold countries, which get less sun often eat more meat, fish, dairy and animal fats, while those in hotter countries get carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats from tropical fruit, which includes avocados. Sadly, those in countries where avocados grow are forced to sell them to westerners who have been sold the ‘superfood’ hoax by the corporate food chain.

Dietary Fats, Omega Fatty Acids, EPA, DHA, ALA and LA – how these work

A website called Bare Biology explains Omega 3 and 6 Fatty acids clearly

From Bare Biology, a website promoting ‘daily flourishment’ from article on vegan Omega 3

For those on a Scandinavian, northern European or Mediterranean diet, fatty and oily fish types, which are ocean caught, fed on plankton not grain-fed on farms, are essential for health and prevent inflammation, which is increasingly prevalent on a modern, processed, western diet and with consumption of alcohol, particularly those containing grains and yeast. These fish can be fought frozen, tinned or fresh, but ocean caught is best, without added salt or other additives or flavouring.

These stple items, all in the Elimination Diet of 42 safe foods, which few people are allergic to, used to reduce the grocery bill by £15 as recently as July 2018. My other blog discusses ways to cut out food intolerances, which cause weight gain, inflammation and bloating.

Today, the food available presents us with various challenges, not least the rising prices we have faced as a result of Brexit. How can a government inflict such pain and restriction on the nation they claim to represent? Here is a guide to the various kinds of macronutrients, which make up the various food groups. You may find you dislike, react to or are allergic to one or more of these. Macronutrients are a goood way to find out where your ideal diet originates from.

A great way to get enough vegetables is to use an allotment, but waiting lists are long – Image by Jana V. M. from Pixabay

Personally, I avoid starch, sugar and milk and aim for above ground vegetables, which do not contain a combination of saccharides. This takes some unravelling, but foods such as leafy green vegetables are carbohydrates but are not referred to as saccharides, a unit of carbohydrate. More recognisable carbohydrates include monosaccharides (honey, fruit, glucose), dissacharides (maltose, lactose, sucrose) or polysaccharides (including cellulose (whole grain and whole meal) and glycogen). People who seem to gain weight easily might find they are retaining water to store glycogen.

Alcohol – What happens

This is down to the fact that alcohol prevents the liver from producing glucose, which will trigger the body to utilise stored glycogen. To compensate through this process, the body will secrete insulin, resulting in low, unhealthy blood sugar levels.

Cassioburycourt – an organisation fighting addiction

The other substance I have felt much better without is caffeine

Caffeine may lower your insulin sensitivity. That means your cells don’t react to the hormone by as much as they once did. They don’t absorb as much sugar from your blood after you eat or drink. This causes your body to make more insulin, so you have higher levels after meals.

Article on Diabetes and caffeine – By Sharon Liao Medically Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on May 14, 2021

Published by makingspace4life

Currently on an incubator program at Falmouth University - Launchpad - and an MSc in Entrpeneurship. I moved to Cornwall in 2011 and did an MA in professional writing. A keen writer who enjoys life. Favourite activities include: painting, travelling on a budget to enjoy small luxuries, self-advocacy, comedy, film, books, ideas, conversations, team sports and gardening. (Currently limited to my basil plant and any others looking thirsty).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: