Even though my level of understanding is fairly preschool comparatively, I've always felt epigenetics comes into play for the following reasons:
Skinny people are born skinny, pretty much regardless of what they eat. Many people who eat appropriate quantities of the healthiest "SAD" food seem to be sick and fat.
I've tried, after a year of paleo, to reintroduce carbohydrate and it resulted in meteoric weight gain, 15lbs in two months time! The reintroduction of carbs also brought back my severe leaky gut symptoms (that I had previously associated solely with my gluten intolerances).
I don't need to have someone tell me "yr doin it wrong" because they have no clue about my genetic predispositions, the fact that my paternal grandmother was morbidly obese, my maternal grandmother despite hard farm living for most of her life and a fairly healthy WAPF-type diet, struggled with her weight (although she was blessed with some longevity).
I've always felt that people who are "born thin" and try to lecture the overweight on how to be thin is ridiculous. When I meet someone who was once morbidly obese and lost a few hundred pounds, then kept it off through diligence and maintenance - that's the person I want to listen to.
Epigenetics are a BIG deal. Transgenerational epigenetics + eating Paleo = an even BIGGER deal.
Kudos to Dr. K for following this line of thought.
The Shanahans of Deep Nutrition have also advocated for a similar position on diet and health.
PS my pet theory is that transgenerational_epigenetics might go a looooong way in explaining the obesity epidemic -- as in, the travesty of formula-fed infants who grow up to have children.
First of all, I think it was thoughtful of Quilty to write the post. Irrespective of whether you are a Quilt fan, to the extent he was motivated to write the post to address concerns that Jack raised, props where props are due!
Secondly, I think Epigenetics could be big deal as the science unfolds. Stephan Guyenet wrote an article discussing epigenetics over 1 year ago (cannot find it at the moment) and it definitely left me with a "holy sh*t, that would be a HUGE deal if the acceleration of DOCs are being fueled by this concept".
Having said that, the science behind this is still quite nascent from what little I've read (and yes it's little so maybe I'm grossly wrong). Here is what I fear short term until the science evolves - it would be very easy for people to adopt the mentality of "I'm screwed because of what my grandmother did so screw it, pass me another twinkle, coke, and slice of pizza".
So I have to ask myself, what is actionable and would materially impact the choices I would make as a result? There is nothing about epigenetics theory right now that materially changes my view of diet and lifestyle
Everything else - tweaking macronutrients, debating the minutia of biochemistry, and other orthorexic tendencies will continue evolve, but at the end of the day I do not see epigenetics materially changing the 80-90% of what I already do or at least should be doing. Maybe that will change once I understand this concept more and the scientific details behind it.
He makes so many assumptions based on jack kronk, he blames his weird lipid panel on his very moderate carb intake of 150-200g based on nothing. We have no idea what jack kronk does everyday. Its a joke.
I definitely agree with the epigentics part somewhat though.
This is all very fascinating but also very complicated. I look forward to more discussions on the subject. I feel like we are talking a bit of apples and oranges here though. Epigenetics and transgenerational epigenetics are not the same thing yet we seem to be communicating as though they were.
Here's a great primer on epigenetics for those interested. I think it's a very easy to understand presentation.
Transgenerational epigenetics seems to be, for lack of a better description, a more complicated subset and I think something we know less about. I think this is a good article that makes it a bit easier to understand and also highlights some of the complexities involved in trying to understand how this all works.
i don't buy the epigenetics explanation to the extent that i think some people are trying to take this. if this theory concerning epigenetics and obesity and DOC's is to hold up, then why do second generation immigrants in this country- and even the immigrants themselves- succumb to the same same maladies that people on the standard American diet suffer from when they start to consume our diet? i helped my boss lose a lot of weight for her daughter's wedding. she is a filipino immigrant who's been here 30 years. she was one of the easiest people to deal with because all i had to tell her was to go back eating like she did as a child in the phillipines with some advice about oils and such. the weight fell off of her.
i also don't buy it because of my own experiences. i was obese basically from birth: formula fed and the whole bit. all of my mom's kids popped out the womb well over 8 lbs with my youngest brother weight 9lbs 6oz. now being that my mom gave me some pretty sucky genes to start with, according to jack kruse, i would have to stay low carb the rest of my life to keep a decent weight, which i've only recently attained in the last couple years. how is then that i can eat copious amounts of starch and fruit while adjusting my fat intake depending on how much carbs i'm taking in, and keep a stable weight?
from my perspective- again i'm not a dr and don't even play one on tv- the simplest and probably most correct way to look at the obesity and DOC's situation in this country is not to look backwards but to look around you. tweak your diet to see what degree you can heal your metabolism and from there see what you can tolerate. i do think low-carb paleo is a good place to start to heal metabolic syndrome but after that, i think people definitely need to start messing around with cycling carbs to break the physiological insulin resistance that sets in with going low carb for too long.
btw, that momma who gave me the bad genes has dropped 50lbs this year so far with low carb paleo and has been easing into a moderate carb version and still doing well. happy birthday, ma :-)
Edit: Thinking more on the subject, wouldn't the argument from a cursory observation standpoint that the parent's or grandparents diets are the cause of some maladies be confounded by the fact that as a child, in most cases, you are reared on nearly the identical diet of your parents? considering many times that the quality of diet is based on things such as location and socioeconomic status, i think there are too many confounders to start laying it at the door of epigenetics- a study that is very new and not thoroughly understood. i've been reading and listening to chris kresser regarding prenatal and childhood care and i totally agree with what he's saying. i guess what is messing with me, unless i am reading it wrong, is that kruse insinuated that the macronutrient ratio you should eat is determined by epigenetics- outside of your hypothalamus leptin signaling being destroyed by fructose and excessive o6- just seems not to jive with what i've observed and experience.
" That is why people like JK have always believed that high carbs are not a problem for their entire life. Their experience made them believe that. The converse is also true for someone like me. I knew carbs had to be kept low because of what I knew about my own grandmother and mother and what I did to myself the ten years before I became a morbidly obese surgeon"
my question is to other people well-versed in it. is this where the science is taking us on epigenetics?
Epigenetics is nice and all, but there is no way for us to rely on it unless we are a direct descendent of the Okinawans on both sides of our family. Our world is too fractured genetically for these types of conversations to be useful. What Quilt is getting at, basically, is N-1 self experimentation is good. I agree.
However, what should have been an answer in Jack Kronk's VAP thread is NOT what I would refer to as Paleo 3.0.
I have always thought that epigenetics influences evolution. When I took some evolutionary biology courses in University (20 years back) we talked about the punctuate equilibrium theory of evolution (long periods of constant life followed by a short period of rapid change). Perhaps this is Nature's way of throwing anything against the wall and see what sticks. We are still evolving, it never stops. The way I look at it perhaps epigenetics is one of many causative factors that leads to the rapid mutation and change organisms can undergo.
Here is a link to a good article: http://epigenome.eu/en/1,3,0
One advantage to being an old geezer (68) is that my mother and I were born before the perfect storm of agribusiness, junk food and misguided nutritional theories. My grandmother was born in the country in the 19th century. Her mother was no doubt eating too many grains but otherwise well. From my understanding, my grandmother came to stay with my mother when she was pregnant with me. (My father was in England with the Air Corps.)
Not practical. There's not a damn thing the average person can do with epigenetics. Beyond general paleo guidelines of QUALITY food(max nutrients/min antinutrients), things like carb/fat/protein ratios and specific foods and supplements are all case sensitive and should be determined experimentally and by genetic analysis. It's not high protein or high fat, it's just food quality.
So if you want to become some intermediate in a developing familial line of people "adapted" to bread and Snickers bars, be my guest. But without genetic testing and experience most people are probably sh!t out of luck on knowing whether their ancestors consistently ate the same things. What if great grandma drifted into drastically different dietary habits then her lineage? What if it happened with each subsequent generation? What if the two parents are from completely different backgrounds?
There's no doubt that epigenetics is an occurring phenomenon. But on a practical level it's a wash. Show me a person who's gut can disable WGA, isolate the gene or bacterium, and then we can talk about epigenetics being useful. For now, it's just an area under the "needs more research" umbrella. Nothing more, nothing less.
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