Nutrigenomics is the study of the effects of food and food constituents on gene expression, and how genetic variations affect the nutritional environment.

Nanci Guest, MSc, RD, CSCS, Registered Dietitian, discusses What is Nutrigenomics and How Can It Help You

Quiz: Do You Understand The Truth About Fast Food?

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:


Saturated fats mainly come from animal products.

Saturated fats mainly come from animal products, such as meat and dairy. Many fast foods are high in saturated and trans fats. Trans fats make food crunchy, but are not healthy for your heart.

Eating too much fast food may affect your mental health.

Several studies have found that people who ate diets high in foods such as processed meat, fried food and refined cereals were more likely to experience depression. Those who ate a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits and fish experienced fewer symptoms of depression.

Silicon dioxide can be found in some fast foods.

Other preservatives you might find in your fast food include silicon dioxide, glycerin, propylene glycol and high fructose corn syrup.

If you eat junk food but work out, the exercise cancels out any negative health effects.

If you eat junk foods that are high in empty calories, fat or sugar, it can affect your exercise performance. You may have less energy and a slower metabolism, which can lead to weight gain.

Grilled meat is no healthier than fried meat at a fast food restaurant.

Many fast food restaurants offer side dishes that can be healthier, such as baked potatoes, yogurt and salad. If the restaurant offers a grilled meat option, choose that over fried meat.
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What is Nutrigenomics and How Can It Help

While over the past couple of decades we’ve recognized through research that our personal DNA affects how we respond to our environment, whether it be medications, diet, supplements or even our response to exercise.

The field of nutrigenomics is the study of our gene nutrient interactions, so basically how we respond to a nutrient with regard to absorption, digestion, metabolism. And through this we look to improve our health and decrease the risk of many chronic diseases related to nutrition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and conditions such as high blood pressure.

There are now about two decades of research that show that our own unique DNA will affect the way we respond to our environment. And this includes a dietary response, as well as our response to supplements, medications and even our response to exercise.

And the area specifically related to diet is called nutrigenomics. And nutrigenomics is basically the study of nutrient diet interactions. And from this science has shown that each of us have unique genetic variations that can affect the way we respond to nutrients in our diet.

Nutrigenomic testing is done generally through a saliva test. So you provide a sample of your saliva and that goes to a lab. And then it’s analyzed for certain gene nutrient interactions that have been well established in the research. So once we know your genotype or your certain genetic variation, we can then determine how you respond to various nutrients.

So for example, we have one of our main tests that we use as dietitians is your response to coffee. And many of us are at risk of high blood pressure or a heart attack if we’re a slow metabolizer versus a fast metabolizer.

And actually half of the population is at risk. And in addition we have sodium, for example. Some people are at risk for high blood pressure with too much sodium in their diet, again depending on a genetic variation because some people are not.

If an individual has questions or is interested in nutrigenomic testing in order to improve their diet based on their DNA, they can contact a registered dietitian or another health care professional that provides nutrigenomic testing in their practice. Featured Speaker Smart Food Now 

Presenter: Ms. Nanci Guest, Registered Dietitian, Toronto, ON

Local Practitioners: Registered Dietitian

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