Gene Cuisine

By Blonz, Ed | Vegetarian Times, October 1997 | Go to article overview

Gene Cuisine


Blonz, Ed, Vegetarian Times


In the quest for your ideal diet, take clues from your ancestors and members of your family.

IN THE PAST two decades, nutrition has become a subject of great popular interest. Advertisements and labels proclaim what various foods do and do not contain. Books and articles abound on diets that can lower everything from our weight to our risk of various illnesses. We speak in casual conversation about our cholesterol and triglyceride levels and have learned the differences between saturated, unsaturated and hydrogenated fats.

All this attention we pay to nutrition is based on the premise that what we eat affords us some measure of control over our health and that proper nutrition is a one-size-fits-all proposition with little relationship to our personal genetic background makeup. But is it?

BLOOD-TYPE HYPE

A recent book by naturopathic physician Peter D'Adamo, N.D., Eat Right 4 Your Type (Putnam, 1996), made waves with a bold theory about how our individual genetic makeup affects what each of us should and should not eat. To maintain optimal health, D'Adamo argues that specific blood types-A, B, AB and Oshould dictate our diets.

One of D'Adamo's assertions is that people with type O blood (about 46 percent of the population) should be eating meat virtually every day in order to remain healthy. According to D'Adamo, type O's are direct descendants of those who roamed the earth before the advent of agriculture, and therefore, have "huntergatherer" genes, which dictate a preagricultural diet-one free of cultivated products, such as oats, wheat and most other grains. By contrast, those with blood types that originated after the start of agriculture can eat these foods. Persons with type A blood, he claims, are best off as vegetarians, while type B's are basically omnivores and the only ones who do well eating dairy products. People whose blood type is AB have the nutritional needs and intolerances of types A and B.

D'Adamo's book has been roundly criticized by a variety of experts. "There is no anthropological evidence whatsoever that all prehistoric people with a particular blood type ate the same diet," says Stephen Bailey, Ph.D., a nutritional anthropologist at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. The Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter bluntly called D'Adamo's book "a blood bad idea."

"It's the latest diet fad. It's not backed up by good science," states Bonnie Liebman, director of nutrition at the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C. "I think people who are talking about these individualized diets are just trying to sell books. I guarantee that the blood-type theory will be gone within a year."

GENETICS COUNT

NOBODY DISPUTES the fact that our genes play a major role in determining our health, and that, consequently, there are things we must do to safeguard it. But four genetic attributes alone cannot account for the vast complex that is the human body nor for any one person's multiple needs. Human DNA the double helix molecule in each cell that is its genetic blueprint-is made up of 50,000 to 100,000 genes, not just four types, and these genes are shuffled and reshuffled each generation, creating an incredible variety of traits, tendencies and requirements particular to each individual.

Genes lay the groundwork for who a person is and how he fares, but they alone do not determine the finished product. "Almost always it's not just a single gene that causes a disease, for instance," says Liebman. "It's an interaction between environment and a gene that causes disease." And one of the major elements of the human environment is diet.

In fact, the foods that have been available over the millennia have had a profound effect on who survived to pass along their genes to subsequent generations. For example, during times of food scarcity, individuals who were genetically predisposed to store fat were more likely to survive than individuals without this tendency.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Gene Cuisine
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.