In a new study, researchers found that consuming a high level of carbohydrates regulates a gene in the body that can reduce the risk of obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic diseases.
This is good news for most people. The bad news, however, is that high fat intake reduces this protection and may lead to health problems for those who regularly consume fatty foods.
The findings give insight on how balanced nutrition can affect our health, from the perspective of an important, but single gene called CPT1A.
The researchers say that a balanced intake of carbohydrate and fat may be the best way to prevent metabolic diseases
The research was conducted by a team of scientists in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agriculture Research Service (ARS).
The team examined three populations in the United States and Europe to investigate the links between total carbohydrate, fat, and energy intake, and the risk of metabolic diseases.
They found that daily dietary habits can influence the CPT1A gene activity level and ultimately lead to positive or negative health consequences.
The study shows that high carbohydrate intake is linked to lower levels of the gene, while the high fat intake is associated with higher levels.
But how does food influence our genes and subsequently affect our health? In the case of the CPT1A gene and this research, the answer involves a special chemical tag or decoration that sits on top of the gene to regulate gene levels.
This tag is called an “epigenetic signal.” The signal becomes stronger or weaker based on the foods we eat, causing the body to produce more or less of the gene.
One author of the study is ARS Scientist Dr. Chao-Qiang Lai.
The study is published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
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