SUMMARY: Why Must You Understand Epigenetics? Because epigenetics is the real driver of your health status, and diet plays a major role in gene expression (aka epigenetics), at least in this post’s animal study! Mention this fun fact at holiday gatherings as others notice and comment — good and bad — about your favor of healthy whole foods with resist of the nutritionally empty and microbiome harming options! Epigenetics is a big word but it simply means the process by which your genes are turned on or off (aka expressed) in good or bad ways. You already know, diet pre-selects “who” comprises the gut microbiome. This post shares the University of Wisconsin-Madison mouse study which found that the molecules produced by the microbiome (aka metabolites) tells our genes what to do (turn on or off). This study looked at two diets: a carbohydrate rich diet (one rich in plant carbohydrates similar to fruits and vegetables humans consume) and pitted it against the Western, Standard American Diet (SAD) (think high in simple refined carbs, added sugars, and unhealthy fats — this is found in most all home cooked, grocery prepared, and restaurant meals as they use convenient processed ingredients). Their results showed the plant based diet yielded a more rich microbiome which in turn, produced metabolites that seemed to favor host-microbe communication as they chemically communicated with cells, including cells FAR beyond the colon (the liver and white fat tissue), to dictate gene expression and health (metabolic — insulin, lipid to name a few) in its host. In contrast, the metabolites of the SAD did not provide this communication likely because it was MISSING the necessary metabolites to do so! If you think this is awkward party talk, what is even MORE AWKWARD is feeling others watch what you eat so that they can learn what foods express their genes best! You’ve worked hard to learn microbiome. I am in awe and proud of you. Now it’s your turn to pay it forward and teach others by doing!