Simply Health ME E40- Epigenetics and ‘fat-adaptation’

What do we mean by Fat adaptation

A sugar-burner can’t effectively access stored fat for energy. What that means is an inability for skeletal muscle to oxidize fat.

You feel fine as long as you are constantly eating and getting glucose. When you miss a meal, you probably feel hungry / irritable / dizzy

Eventually your body will start to burn fat for fuel and the by product (ketones) becomes your fuel and thus you are not dependent on glucose

This will happen to anyone but will be delayed and sluggish if you don’t do it all the time

If you give your body a chance to “learn” how to burn your own fat. You become efficient. This changes through a concept calle epigenetics.

a low ratio of fat to carbohydrate oxidation is a strong predictor of future weight gain.

What is epigenetics?

Epigenetics is the study of  changes in gene function that do not involve changes in the DNA sequence.

epigenetics is now considered an important mechanism in many diseases

EXAMPLE: The honeybee model clearly demonstrated the epigenetic effects of diet on the phenotype, because honeybees grow to be either queens or workers depending on whether they are fed royal jelly or beebread.

Epigenetic changes occur  throughout life. some are potentially reversible, but usually stable.

What is nutrigenomics

the scientific study of the interaction of nutrition and genes, especially with regard to the prevention or treatment of disease.

Nutrients can modify the expression of critical genes associated with physiologic and pathologic processes, including embryonic development, aging, and carcinogenesis.

nutritional epigenetics has been viewed as an attractive tool to prevent pediatric developmental diseases and cancer as well as to delay aging-associated processes.

caloric intake, specific foods, nutrient and phytochemicals; as well as the importance of timing on the consequence of these epigenetic marks

Why do we care?


embryo would be particularly vulnerable to environmental influences during this time

Women pregnant during famine had children with differences in insulin like growth factor and children tend to be more obese later in life

Early nutrition may play a role in later development of chronic disease

But probably does not become apparent until early adulthood


It is widely accepted that many cancers could be avoided through changes in lifestyle.

Vascular Health.

a study published in 2008 showed that exposing mice brains to as little as 6 hours of high blood sugar led to epigenetic changes that increased risk of vascular damage. These changes lasted even after 6 days of normal blood glucose, representing long-term damage after just a short blast of sugar.

The most frightening data on this subject shows that high blood glucose may damage our telomeres; the ends of our DNA code. Considering that an undamaged telomere may be protective against cancer, death, and the very act of aging, any process that harms telomeres could put us at substantial risk. Data from the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging found that the higher the blood sugar, the more damage caused to the telomere and its associated DNA.


Recent studies indicate that telomere length, which can be affected by various lifestyle factors, can affect the pace of aging and onset of age-associated diseases.

Telomere length (part of a chromosome)  shortens with age. Progressive shortening of telomeres leads to senescence, apoptosis, or oncogenic transformation of somatic cells, affecting the health and lifespan of an individual.

Smoking and obesity seem to have adverse effect on telomeres and aging.

Obesity is associated with excessive telomere shortening

Environment, nature of profession, and stress can also affect the rate of telomere shortening and health.

Dietary restriction or eating less has an extremely positive impact on health and longevity.

Exercise can reduce harmful fat and help mobilize waste products for faster elimination, leading to reduced oxidative stress and preservation of DNA and telomeres.

This diet emphasizes compounds like the sulforaphane (found in broccoli), curcumin (found in turmeric), epigallocatechin gallate (found in green tea) and resveratrol (found in wine), and is designed to slow or potentially reverse damage to our DNA. The epigenetic activity of these chemicals may both prevent cancer formation and lead to decreased fat cells, as well as generally lower inflammation.3

Dietary restriction delays aging associated with epigenetic effects.

Ketogenic diets, may entail similarly protective epigenetic mechanisms.


Athletes can train body to burn fat more efficiently allowing them to go way longer


They should also do some carb cycling as for athletes they want to be efficient at burning BOTH fuel IF (and only if) they are looking for performance gain

If you are overweight and not looking to get on the podium: no need to carbo load

(unless you want to and have found it works for you)



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