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Does your DNA have an appetite for certain foods?

In the near future, a balanced diet could involve individually tailoring nutrition based on a person's genetic makeup. Cancer Treatment Centers of America therapies include nutrition evaluation.
by Melissa Howell Modified: November 27, 2013 at 8:46 pm •  Published: November 28, 2013
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As you're savoring that turkey and dressing or mashed potatoes and gravy, remember: you are what you eat.

Especially when it comes to developing or fighting the No. 2 cause of death in the U.S. — cancer.

Recent studies have proved nutrition's role in developing diseases and maintaining wellness: Eat less red meat. Avoid processed foods. Consume a variety of fruits and vegetables.

But going forward, the approach may not be “one-size-fits-all.” In fact, a balanced diet could involve individually tailoring nutrition based on a person's genetic makeup.

“When it comes to what we're finding, there is a whole world of nutrition and genetics we are just beginning to understand. We are learning what you eat determines how your body or genetics will react,” said Kalli Castille, director of nutritional support and culinary at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, a Southwest Regional Medical Center in Tulsa. “What you eat can literally change your DNA sequencing. I imagine that it will change cancer treatment, or any treatment.”

With the advent of faster and cheaper DNA technologies, nutrigenomics — the study of nutrition and genetics — has revealed much about how our genes interact with nutrition to affect cancer and other chronic diseases.

Health professionals have long made nutrition recommendations based on the assumption that everyone has the same nutritional requirements. But, genetic research has revealed that individuals respond differently to food and nutrients as a result of their unique genetic makeup,” Castille said.

“Researchers have begun to understand that genetic predispositions to developing certain disease may be present, however, the diseases may not actually occur,” Castille said. “Current research is looking into why this is. For example, specific food or dietary factors can lead to increased protection, while other dietary factors or foods can lead to increased risk of disease, such as cancer.”

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by Melissa Howell
Custom Publishing Editor
Melissa Howell is a 1987 graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma. Following graduation she moved to Kansas City and began working for The Lenexa News, a small suburban weekly. In 1988, she went at the Kansas City Star as a reporter and...
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