• 18 AUG 15
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    Nature Vs. Nurture: Establishing Healthy Eating Habits

    Nature Vs. Nurture: Establishing Healthy Eating Habits

    By: Dr. Sher Bovay, DC

    I have been working with hundreds of clients over the years helping them to change their eating habits in order to lose weight, reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels and improve how they feel overall. I often ask myself why some people can easily change their eating patterns while others struggle with it? I’ve come to understand that:

    – Either, individuals are never satisfied and find themselves looking for satisfaction from food and drinks throughout the day and night, even when they’re not hungry; or,

    – Individuals binge eat and have a hard time stopping that behaviour.

    If you fall into either one of these groups then you will be interested to know that not only are there genetic variations in your genome which may help to explain these behaviours, but you can undergo testing to identify them. In my opinion, there are two benefits to knowing if you carry these genetic variations:

    – Attitude and motivation: When individuals struggle with managing their behaviours around foods and drinks, they can feel discouraged and frustrated, and they almost always expect to fail based on past experiences. It can be challenging to stay positive, excited and motivated about changing eating habits and getting healthier when a person is experiencing so many negative emotions. I find that when my patients are told that there’s a genetic reason for why they graze or binge eat, then suddenly there’s a concrete reason behind their sabotaging behaviours. They still need to learn strategies to manage their healthy eating habits but, from a motivational point of view, they can let go of any judgment and guilt and put effort into mastering the strategies.

    – Develop personalized strategies: Based on the results of their genomics test, individuals can learn strategies to not only help establish healthy eating habits, but manage them, too.

    Genomic Tests

    Dopamine receptor DRD2 functions in the brain reward system and is a key player in the dopamine neuronal circuit (dopamine is the “feel good” neurotransmitter that motivates people for pleasure). COMT is involved in the metabolism of dopamine in the prefrontal cortex. Genomics can now test for the presence of both DRD2 and COMT.

    Behaviours and strategies associated with a couple of combinations of genes with DRD2 and COMT include:

    – DRD2 A/A + COMT G/G = Decreased stimulation of pleasure response, leading to an increase in grazing behaviour. Individuals are more likely to develop unhealthy eating habits. Establish set times for eating (every three hours), make food as palatable as possible and partake in mindfulness training to accommodate this combination of genes.

    – DRD2 G/G + COMT A/A = Increased stimulation of pleasure response, leading to an increase in binging behaviour. Eliminate fatty and sugary foods, be aware of triggers for pleasure-seeking behaviours such as stress, emotions, associated habits and rituals and develop strategies to deal with these situations.

    P3 Health offers a number of genomics tests. Call the clinic at 416-699-3636 to schedule an appointment today!

    ABOUT DR. SHER BOVAY: As P3 Health’s Director of Lifestyle Medicine, Dr. Bovay assesses and coaches hundreds of clients on their lifestyle habits and regimens, and helps them to improve their health and performance both personally and professionally.

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