Nutrition, Genes and Modern Disease: A Current Dilemma or a Legacy of our Past

Written by Cyndi

Cyndi is about educating. Her greatest love is to teach, both in the public arena and within the large corporate food companies, to enable everyone to make better choices so they too can enjoy greater health throughout their lives. Considered one of the world's foremost experts in Nutrition, Cyndi brings over 40 years experience, research and knowledge.

November 18, 2014

Our Education Course Developer Dr Stephen Myers and Consulting Nutritionist Sheridan Williamson recently collaborated and wrote a research paper titled ‘Nutrition, Genes and Modern Disease: A Current Dilemma or a Legacy of our Past’.

Stephen and Sheridan decided to write the paper because they believe there is a disconnect or fragmented view in our thinking about the nutritional selection pressure on ancestral genes and evolution and our ability to adapt to more contemporary nutritional pressures today.

Recently published on the International OMICS website, an open access forum to peer reviewed published journal articles which are predominately scientific, Stephen and Sheridan’s article has been one of the most read articles with 1,146 views and 779 downloads so far.

Well done Stephen and Sheridan!

Below is an overview of their research paper and a link to the full article – please take a moment to have a read.

Contemporary humans are genetically adapted to the environment that their ancestors survived in and that consequently selected their genetic makeup. Since the agricultural revolution some 10,000 years ago, the lifestyles and dietary requirements of modern humans have changed dramatically. It is suggested that these changes have occurred too recently on an evolutionary time scale for the modern human genome to adapt. Therefore, our ancestral genome is ill-suited for our current modern consumption and existence, and thus contributes to diseases associated with contemporary lifestyles, such as cardiovascular disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. It is therefore suggested that a diet similar to our ancestors could circumvent many of our modern illnesses and serve as a reference for better nutrition, health, and longevity. Although this model should certainly be commended for its simplistic dietary practices that no doubt improve health and well-being; its premise is cemented in the thrifty genome hypothesis and the fact that humans are modern hunters and gatherers whose genome is ill-suited for modern diets. This is a disjointed view of modern humans and our ability to evolve under different eco regions and nutritional pressures through post-genomic and post-transcriptional changes in our genome. Accordingly, a major challenge associated with nutritional research is to understand how these changes in our genome reflect on our nutrition habits and lifestyles to ameliorate many of our modern lifestyle diseases.

Full article
Nutrition, Genes and Modern Disease: A Current Dilemma or a Legacy of our Past’


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