You are what you eat? No, Mummy, Daddy I am what YOU ate!

EPIGENTICS – The study of heritable changes in gene expression

When it comes to epigenetics and nutrition, whilst your diet shapes your OWN health if you plan on having children your diet will also shape THIER HEALTH.

“You are what you eat?”

“No, Mummy, Daddy, Grandparents – I am what YOU ate!”.

I have been talking a lot about how we are getting unhealthier with each generation, more allergies, more respiratory problems, more skin conditions. On a more serious note, increased mental health issues, increased cancer rates, huge increases in Type 2 Diabetes and obesity and with that comes a host of co-morbidities.

But why?

I have posted a lot about our changing food landscape, the normalisation of weird foods, the normalisation of obesity, serious diseases becoming so common they are no longer feared but what real impact does this have on the next generation?

As you will know by now if you have been reading my blogs or social media, I am on a bit of an early years’ nutrition mission – the reason why?

There is a belief amongst many scientists that this generation of children will not outlive the one before it. 

“Parents might soon be outliving their children because of the rising level of obesity among youngsters”

Andrew Prentice, professor of international nutrition at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine,

This was widely publicised as far back as 2002 with Andrew Prentice, professor of international nutrition at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine declaring that “the prediction of rising obesity causing falling longevity among the present generation of children could easily come true”.

Since 2002 there have been many initiatives (see previous blogs on Change 4 Life, Sugar Tax etc to see what impact they have had but no real change for the better, if anything the statistics are getting worse.  Certainly, when it comes to children developing Type 2 Diabetes there has been a 40% increase in recent years.

I come back to the reason why and think that people genuinely do not understand the importance of nutrition or the vital role it plays in shaping not only our own future health but that of the next generation;

  1. Epigenetic link – what you eat (male and female) will have an impact on your future child.  Your sperm and eggs contain heritable epigenetic information causing epigenetic inheritance.  Obesity is a heritable trait and there is growing evidence around Type 2 Diabetes being heritable.
  2. Society’s lack of respect for nutrition – I refer back to last week’s blog. We, as a society have now normalised obesity, it perfectly normal within a room for at least 40% to be obese.  This normalisation does not remove the health risks it simply increases the number of people who experience them.
  3. As with above, people are just not bothered enough until there is a problem.  I have had many people choose not to work with me stating “it isn’t for them” only to come back months, possibly years later following a serious health condition where suddenly it is for them and they need help.
  4. Back to epigenetics and there is a link that crosses generations, not just parental but grandparents too.  This could explain why we are seeing such huge increases in health problems across society with this generation of children being the result of not just a poor paternal diet but the poor diet of grandparents too.  If we consider our food landscape has been deteriorating since the 1970’s that would make sense, right?
  5. I have spoken a lot on this changing food landscape but for the purposes of this blog
    • Vast increase in processed food
    • Artificial farming has affected both the mineral quality of soil (fruit and veg) and the protein quality of poorly farmed meat
    • Increases in diet foods which are full of harmful artificial ingredients
    • Misunderstanding of foods thanks to confusing health campaigns and misguided weight loss plans (i.e. avoiding fruit and essential fats)
    • Misunderstanding of fats leading to EFA deficiencies, I truly believe this is linked to many of our increased mental health issues and if we consider that EFA deficiencies are linked to violence, depression, stress and anxiety, yet people are avoiding fats because of the diet industry?
    • Sugar – far too much of it, people under estimate the damage this causes and I don’t just mean weight.

It’s not a pretty picture and this is why I am on this campaign. Imagine being able to see an easy solution to a huge and growing problem? Well I can!  The answer isn’t always going to be nutrition but it is certainly the best place to start.  Food is under respected, abused, misunderstood and yet it can largely either create your future health problems or shape your future health and longevity.

The choice is yours, but for children they don’t have a choice.  Their future health is being shaped and they have no say in it, on my early years mission I aim to educate children so they can take control of their future health by understanding and respecting food and therefore, reverse the epigenetic trend of unhealthy heritable traits.

Work with me? I have studied for years on these subjects and love to share my knowledge, join me in a webinar

Need some help? I am a very supportive nutrition coach and can help you and your family to reverse any nutrition bad habits and form a healthy future.

See how I have helped others here

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