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Did your parents' diets affect your genetics?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 22, 2012 at 6:17 PM

If both your great-grandparents had a Paleo lifestyle and passed it down, how would your body fare today?

Are we supposed to eat like our cultural ancestors or did your genetics get hampered because of some of the food they did or didn't eat? Maybe they drank to much alcohol? Maybe they didn't have enough meat or protein?

In my own experience, my mother didn't drink a lot of milk and ate plenty of junk food just before I was born. I think it contributed to my early ADHD as a child.

Before people knew of ADHD, I can remember how difficult it was to function in school and finish projects. We had plenty of junk cereal, snacks and soda around the house.

My brain was always on fire with anxiety and racing thoughts. It wasn't until I removed grains and junk food that I had a new feeling of clarity, like polishing silver for the first time in 20 years, bright and clear.

Do you think your kids will fare better (and in what way) by keeping a Paleo lifestyle?

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on March 22, 2012
at 10:28 PM

I see some really interesting thoughts here now that there are more answers. I suppose it would be proper for me to add that while my sister is very bright, driven, and incredibly accomplished...I am technically and in practice the "smart one" - IQ, honors this and that, prize-winning, etc. What I am trying to say is that I'm a huge nerd/uber-geek and my sister is not. As others have noted, there is almost definitely a genetic factor at work, despite the consequences of diet. I do tease my mother on occasion that my IQ would have been even higher if she had just eaten paleo. :-P

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 22, 2012
at 09:49 PM

Though, I thought I'd add, my BF's mom was ate loads of fish for her pregnancy (she worked on a fishing boat for the whole thing), but not much else in the cold dark north, and he developed massive food allergies- literally was allergic to almost all food, she had to breast feed him for soooo long because he could hardly eat anything else. I always wondered if it was maybe her other nutritional deficiencies and possible anemia that contributed- he is growth stunted now and has a really hard time with maintaining good skin.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on March 22, 2012
at 07:42 PM

Hi, Wes. :) I changed "fair" to "fare" in the first and last questions. Hope you don't mind. :)

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5 Answers

3
1586db0f16b2cef51ee4e71ab08ad1a2

(965)

on March 22, 2012
at 06:21 PM

In short, yes.

Check out Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food . Interesting read.

2
1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on March 22, 2012
at 07:17 PM

Yes, anecdotally.

My mother became pregnant and raised me during the low-fat diet peak. My father was eating almost zero fat (his cholesterol shot through the roof) and my mother also ate low-fat, margarine, pasta, just a little olive oil. I have a very narrow jaw and had very crowded, crooked teeth - 8 teeth out + braces to make them perfect. I needed leg braces to correct pigeon-toe as a child. I had severe, fast-progressing scoliosis (an s-curve) that required a spinal fusion. I had a sporadic heart arrythmia that required two rfa procedures to fix. I have had to work hard to stop looking gangly and awkward, and I am not a natural athlete.

My sister, conversely, was conceived and born after my parents quit the extreme low-fat, especially my mother, and went back to eating more traditional fare. My sister has perfect teeth without braces - and I mean perfect: a wide, attractive jaw, and never a single health issue. She is naturally athletic and fit.

I'm totally over it - I am proud to say that I have been a positive influence on my sister from both a dietary and fitness standpoint (got her into lifting, kettlebell, etc.) and we are equally strong at this point.

That being said, this, and what I've read peripherally, has convinced me that it is vitally important to not roll the dice on my future childrens'...future, and eat the best I can. Even if it is just an anecdote.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on March 22, 2012
at 10:28 PM

I see some really interesting thoughts here now that there are more answers. I suppose it would be proper for me to add that while my sister is very bright, driven, and incredibly accomplished...I am technically and in practice the "smart one" - IQ, honors this and that, prize-winning, etc. What I am trying to say is that I'm a huge nerd/uber-geek and my sister is not. As others have noted, there is almost definitely a genetic factor at work, despite the consequences of diet. I do tease my mother on occasion that my IQ would have been even higher if she had just eaten paleo. :-P

1
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 22, 2012
at 09:46 PM

My parents ate really great food- both farmers, lots of meat and vegetables from the garden. Lived by the docks, so my mom ate salmon constantly. My mom wouldn't buy anything premade, and she never liked making bread, so the carbs they ate were mostly potatoes and some rice (my mom only like rice noodles, so no wheat pasta). She also craved eggs throughout all her pregnancies, so she popped hard boiled eggs when she was on the go constantly. She was going to school and working full time, so she remembers having these huge packed lunches (she never ate out, very frugal) of cured meats, slabs of cheese, loads of vegetables, soups, eggs etc. Though we were born in the 80's/90's, my mom never went for the low-fat craze. She used tallow and lard, served liver wrapped in bacon for our Sunday morning special breakfast treat. During her pregnancy she ate liver 2-3 times a week because she was fighting off anemia.

My brothers and I all have really bad allergies, we were all given an Asberger's diagnoses (though they "dropped" the diagnoses as my older brother and I aged, my little brother is still considered to have Asberger's), I was born with a heart defect and under/undeveloped sinuses, and both my brothers had eczema. We played outside constantly since birth, but the allergies were pretty crazy, I can't touch grass without breaking out into hives.

The only thing I can think of is that we all developed our speech skills really quickly, and were all above average IQ (my little brother is a certified genius! in Mensa since he was 8). My older brother could read by 3, my parents just suddenly noticed he wasn't just making up stories for the pictures but actually reading. My older brother had amazing hand eye coordination for his age and was featured in a "child artists" drawing program. Little brother is a language genius, near-photographic memory that is pretty fantastic to test. Very sensitive kid though, had a lot of skin rashes and always very sensitive feelings. I probably have the lowest IQ out of the three of us, but I've always been extremely motivated and active. Beat both my brothers in every course in high school, so motivation always counts for something right ;)

I think nutrition impacts children, but there are also so many other factors going on. I probably would have had a heart defect and under/undeveloped sinuses regardless of what my mom did. My little brother probably would have Aspberger's anyways- it's a core part of who he is, and basically he has combined some of the "odd ball" qualities, amazing memory, and social awkwardness that previous family memebers have had. It's just "one of those things".

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 22, 2012
at 09:49 PM

Though, I thought I'd add, my BF's mom was ate loads of fish for her pregnancy (she worked on a fishing boat for the whole thing), but not much else in the cold dark north, and he developed massive food allergies- literally was allergic to almost all food, she had to breast feed him for soooo long because he could hardly eat anything else. I always wondered if it was maybe her other nutritional deficiencies and possible anemia that contributed- he is growth stunted now and has a really hard time with maintaining good skin.

1
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on March 22, 2012
at 09:12 PM

For sure.

My Mom ate plenty of fatty fish, which may contribute to my higher than average IQ, reading at age 3, etc.

However, she was Vitamin D deficient and I have a small jaw, crowded teeth, many cavities, immune system issues (that I have since healed.)

She moved to a lower latitude and got more sun during her pregnancies with my sisters and they all have much better teeth and jaw development. She did stop eating so much fish, so though they are all very intelligent, none were as precocious as I was (though this could be due to me being the oldest child.)

1
F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on March 22, 2012
at 07:32 PM

My parents were really hard up when I was born and my mother has admitted that canned chinese food was a huge part of her diet when she was pregnant with me. Between the MSG, soy and the preservatives and lack of protein, it's no wonder that I was shorter than my parents, and also had the crowded jaw, myopia, and metabolic syndrome since childhood.

Of course, my younger brother wound up with spina bifida, so I count myself lucky.

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