But, it’s just a doughnut hole…

The larger picture behind food choices and our emotional attachments

Have you ever said to yourself, “It’s just a doughnut hole.”? We all know that doughnuts are not good for us, so why do some of us eat them anyway? The argument is, “But, it’s just a doughnut hole!” So what is the big deal?

All food has two layers of nutrition associated with it. The first layer is the vitamins, minerals, protein and carbohydrates. The second layer is the information fed directly to our DNA. We all understand how eating doughnut holes makes us fatter, but do we ever stop to consider how the doughnut hole is feeding our DNA? Are we feeding our DNA information that says “be well” or are we feeding our DNA information that says “be inflamed” or “be diabetic” or “be diseased”?

Every function in your body requires energy and has a specific order for each process. The DNA of each cell is expressed through its function or dysfunction. When we sweat, think, walk, speak, swallow and even dream while we sleep, the DNA of each cell involved is being expressed. The DNA that is expressed is heavily influenced by our food choices, and to an extent, even our parents’ food choices.

A 2002 article in the Journal of Nutrition was able to show how feeding genetically diabetic mice healthy foods erased the diabetes gene at the fourth generation. The results of this experiment astonished researchers and only after repeated testing did the idea of food choices become a serious consideration as to how chronic disease becomes more prevalent.

Unfortunately, as a culture we don’t take our food choices seriously. Over the past decade there has been a two percent decrease in fruit consumption and no change in vegetable consumption; even though experts recommend that we have four to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day to help prevent cancers and other chronic diseases. What we are feeding our DNA is partly responsible for the chronic disease epidemic in our society.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs as a percentage of personal expenditures rose from 5% in 1950 to over 20% in 2006 and is still increasing. Additionally, food costs as a percentage of personal expenditures during that same time period dropped from 20% in 1950 to 11% in 2006. What are we doing differently that would cause food costs to be cut in half and health care costs to quadruple? Has the lifestyle of eating cheaper, more processed food paid off for us?

All but two of the categories have remained basically unchanged for the duration. The exceptions are food, which has declined by half and health care which has quadrupled!

Making healthier food choices is not about living with more rules, or being perfect, but it is about being aware of how you respond to choices in your life. To make healthy changes, we start with self-observation of our choices without judgment.

We can understand intellectually how eating a doughnut hole is not good for us. Hopefully with the added understanding of how all food has two layers of nutrition associated with it, we can make mindful food choices, break rules to create more choices and reach the point where we feed our DNA information to express “be well.”

Sources:
"Cancer Trends Progress Report." Cancer Trends Progress Report – 2009/2010 Update. Web. 05 Mar. 2012. <http://progressreport.cancer.gov/doc_detail.asp?pid1>.
Cooney, C. A., A. A. Dave, and G. L. Wolff. "Maternal Methyl Supplements in Mice Affect Epigenetic Variation and DNA Methylation of Offspring." JOURNAL OF NUTRITION 132.8 (2002): 2393S-400S. Print.
"Health Care to Consume 20% of GDP by 2017." Nolan Chart. Web. 05 Mar. 2012. <http://www.nolanchart.com/article2922-health-care-to-consume-20-of-gdp-by-2017.html>.
Jones, David, Jeffrey S. Bland, and Becky Reitinger. Healthy Changes; Taking Charge of Your Health. Gig Harbor, WA: HealthComm, International, 1996. Print.

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