Choose the Right Food to Eat to be Healthy (after all, you are what you eat!)

Feed your genes [1]

Through the two decades of efforts, the genetic researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology scientifically validated the common expression “You are what you eat.” Now that is clear – so the answer to this big question “what is the right food to eat?” is what that every dietitian and scientist work hard to find out.

While searching for how our genes respond to what we consume on the molecular level, they have proved that food directly and quickly affects gene expression playing a key role to chronic diseases and metabolic inflammation.  The best diet, aka the right food, from a gene’s point of view is one-third protein, one-third fat and one-third carbohydrates.

Lower carbohydrate diet is good for chronic disease prevention and for anti-aging

It is found that a carbohydrate-rich diet, around 65% of carbohydrates like most people’s meal composition in the western countries, up-regulated or activated genes that are linked to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and some forms of cancer.

The body is triggered to react, the immune system is activated as if the body were being invaded by bacteria or viruses.  This causes a number of classes of genes to work overtime rendering genes that cause metabolic inflammation in the body, and associate with the development of all the “Most Unwanted” diseases.

Metabolic inflammation happens when your skin is slightly redder, your body stores more water, you feel warmer and you are not on top mentally – much like a chronic light flu-like condition.

Change is possible and surprisingly fast.  It takes 6 days to change the gene expression from a high (=> 65%) to lower (<40%) carbohydrate diet.

The derived recommendation is to reduce the carbohydrate intake to less than 40% per total consumption per day and on each meal while cutting down on potatoes, rice and pasta.

A balanced diet, comparing to a carbohydrate-rich diet, also down-regulates genes linked to cardiovascular disease and “the youth gene” in the international research literature.  The quality and quantity of our diets are key in influencing the symptoms of chronic disease.

A healthy diet is about eating specific kinds of foods so that that we minimize the body’s need to secrete insulin

The right food to eat is a healthy diet eating specific kinds of foods so that that we minimize the body’s need to secrete insulin
regardless if the excessive glucose in the blood is the result of intake from sugar or from non-sweet carbohydrates such as starches, potatoes, white bread, rice etc.


Multiple smaller meals offer health benefits

The researchers also found that spreading one’s calorie intake out over the day offered a beneficial effect on health.  They recommend having multiple smaller meals over a day with a balanced diet of less than 1/3 of carbohydrate, protein and fat in 3 main meals and 2-3 snacks.

Choose the right food to feed your genes

You are what you eat.  What you consume affects your body’s immune system, make it a habit to always choose the right types of food to feed your genes.

Choose the right food [1] [2]

From To
Boiled root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots Steamed broccoli, dark green vegetables
Zero fiber white bread and rice High fiber
High-glycemic fruits Low glycemic fruits
Saturated and trans animal fats Monounsaturated vegetable fats and polyunsaturated marine fats
Animal proteins Plant-based proteins

To make it even easier to visualize, check out Harvard Medical School’s healthy plate

The right food to eat as depicted in Harvard Medical School's Healthy Eating Plate graphic

As we all know the food is just part of the equation to lead a healthy and happy life. Exercising and getting your body to move regularly is also important. Find out if you are fit and how to be fit in these articles.


[1]   The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), «Feed your genes: How our genes respond to the foods we eat,» 19 September 2011. [Online]. Available:

[2]   T. C. Campbell, «Animal vs. Plant Protein,» 29 October 2013. [Online]. Available:

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Lois Chan

Lois has worked in the health and skincare industry since 2004. Highly optimistic about aging, she is still pragmatic enough to prepare thoroughly for the future. is Lois' brainchild; a website offering scientifically researched solutions to challenges that people face in every stage of their lives. Join her on her journey for wisdom through the ages.

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