Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Nutrigenomics – could your genes be affecting your health?

We’re all unique individuals and much of our individuality is due to your genetic makeup. You can thank your parents for your unique genetic code, as one set of your 23 chromosomes came from your mother and one set from your father. These chromosomes contain your DNA, which codes for nearly everything in your body, including your eye colour, hair colour and the way your body uses nutrients.  
Polymorphisms, or genetic variations within metabolic pathways, can affect how your body uses nutrients. If a metabolic pathway is not functioning efficiently, long term, this may increase your risk for certain health conditions. 

Nutrigenomics is the study of how food affects your genes and how your genes impact your health. Through nutrigenomics, we can learn about your unique genetic profile and understand the way your body uses nutrients so that you can make simple diet and lifestyle changes to minimise your risk.

Liver detoxification and your genes

Did you know that your genes can affect that way you eliminate toxins from your body? 

Take for example the detoxification process that occurs in your liver. While we all have the ability to detoxify drugs, alcohol, heavy metals, hormones and environmental toxins, some people have unique polymorphisms that decrease your detoxification efficiency. What that means is that you may not be able to remove toxins from your body as efficiently as someone else, which long term could lead to cell damage and ill health. 
Signs that the liver detoxification pathway is not working efficiently may include chronic tiredness, muscle weakness or pain, inflammation, hormonal imbalances, chemical or food sensitivities, nausea and bloating. 

If you have genetic polymorphisms that lead to decreased efficiency in your liver detoxification system, there are important steps you can take. Dependent upon which liver detoxification enzymes are not functioning efficiently, specific diet and lifestyle changes or supplements may be recommended. 

What can you do?

The liver detoxification enzyme test is just one of many tests that we can conduct at Newtown Nutrition to help you determine your distinct genetic profile. 

At Newtown Nutrition we use the SmartDNA genomic wellness test. This test includes:
  • Lipid metabolism
  • Metabolic syndrome and diabetes
  • Inflammation
  • Sodium sensitivity
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Omega 3 and Omega 6
  • B vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin E
  • Methylation, folate and cofactors
  • Choline
  • Caffeine metabolism
  • Coeliac disease
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Oxidative stress
  • Phase I and phase II liver detoxification
  • Weight management
This comprehensive test will inform you about your health risks and guide you in your food choices. We will also provide a thorough assessment and meal plan based on the results of your genomic wellness test.

If you’re interested in understanding more about nutrigenomics or would like to book in for a test today, please contact Newtown Nutrition, or email for more information.


SmartDNA, Genomic Wellness Test, 2015, accessed 22 May 2015 at

Healthscope Pathology, The Path, 2012, Understanding liver detoxification.

On your feet Australia to support a great cause

How much time do you spend sitting during the day? For many of us it’s way too much!

On Thursday 11 June the team at Newtown Nutrition will ‘quit the sit and take a stand for better health’ by giving up our chairs for the day to join the fight against some of our biggest killers – heart disease and diabetes. Did you know that the more time you spend sitting, the greater your chance of these diseases? Our new office standing desk will have arrived just in time for the challenge - how exciting!

Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute are inviting Australians to sign up for On Your Feet Australia – a challenge to go the entire day, or as much of as possible, without sitting down. You too can register for free to receive a 'Quit the Sit' pack that includes tips and tricks on how to give up your chair. So are you up for the challenge? Get started at

Interested in fundraising for a good cause? Encourage others to support you by donating to Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, which is driving vital medical research into heart disease and diabetes. 

Or if you are simply interested in donating and supporting Newtown Nutrition for the challenge, visit our support page here.

Top image from

New Healthy Eating Pyramid

What do you think of Australia’s New Healthy Eating Pyramid? It has been updated by Nutrition Australia for the first time in 15 years in an effort to combat growing nutrition confusion and risky fad diets. Experts recommend that general healthy eating isn’t about follow restrictive diets or cutting out entire food groups because this can lead to issues such as yoyo dieting or nutrient deficiencies. 

The 2015 Healthy Eating Pyramid is based on the recommended food intakes for 19–50 year olds according to the Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013). However the proportions and placement of each food group are generally applicable to all age groups from 1–70 years.

The new Pyramid separates each layer into the five specific food groups, to provide clearer information about how much each one contributes to a balanced diet. Plant-based foods still take up the largest amount of space, with fruit, vegetables and legumes emphasised in the bottom layer, followed by grain foods, then moderate amounts of dairy and protein foods (lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes) and finally small amounts of healthy fats. It also encourages drinking water, limiting salt and added sugar, and to enjoy herbs and spices to flavour foods without using salt. 

Did you know that less than seven per cent of Australians eat enough vegetables and only half eat enough fruit, and the average Australian is getting more than a third of their daily energy from foods that aren’t on the pyramid – high fat and / or sugar packaged foods!

The message is simple… eat more foods from the five food groups, especially vegetables, to nourish your body, help maintain a healthy weight and improve your health. 

Looking for inspiration on how to include more veggies into your day? Try adding them into frittatas, pasta sauces, soups, stir-fry’s, salads, on home-made pizzas and in dips (think beetroot, carrot and capsicum or broad been and sweet potato hummus) yum!

For more ideas and inspiration to include a wider variety of foods from the food groups into your day, why not book in with one of our dietitians!

Baked Apple & Oat Breakfast Puddings

This month Caroline from Healthy Home Café has provided this amazing breakfast recipe. “These little baked oat puddings are almost a cross between porridge and a muffin. Quick to make, but of course you need to allow the baking time, so they most likely are a weekend breakfast option. However, they can be made several days in advance and then just re-heated in the microwave if you do want to include them during the week. They tick all the boxes as a low GI, low fat, calcium rich, high fibre breakfast choice, that even includes a serve of fruit!” Don’t they look delicious!!

Ingredients: serves 3
1 cup (130g) whole rolled oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ cup (40g) sultanas, currants and/or raisins (optional)
2 medium apples (300g), (2 cups when) diced
1 large (60g) organic or free range egg
1 cup low fat soy, regular or other milk
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. Heat oven to 170 degrees
  2. Lightly grease 3 soufflé bowls with a little olive or macadamia oil
  3. Into a large bowl place the oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, dried fruit and apple and toss to       combine
  4. In a smaller bowl, whisk the egg, then mix in the milk, maple syrup and vanilla
  5. Pour egg mix into oats and mix well together
  6. Spoon mixture evenly into soufflé bowls
  7. Bake in oven for approx. 25 minutes or until JUST done (don't overcook or they could become dry)
  • Serve with a good dollop of your favourite natural yoghurt
  • Eat cold or warm in the microwave before serving
  • Serve into small containers if you need something to take on the run
  • Experiment with different fruits like pear, berries, mango etc.

Caroline, who is an Accredited Practising Dietitian, also runs cooking classes. Check out her website for details on upcoming classes here.