Written by Dr. Kevin Spelman, executive vice president for USANA’s department of research and development
Throughout a lifetime, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that a typical human will eat about a ton of food a year. That translates to somewhere between 60 to 100 tons of food in a lifetime. And every bite you consume is feeding your cells information — or misinformation — that can affect your overall health.
Food As Information
Did you know that each mouthful of food you eat carries a specific message to your cells? Whether you choose to eat an orange slice or a cookie, each food is carrying information to your cells, talking to them, inducing a response through cell signaling.
Nutrients from the food you eat act as molecular messengers. When cells receive the messages, the messages are then carried throughout the body using cell-signaling pathways—your body’s vast communication network. Your cells are constantly communicating to each other through signaling to turn on and turn off the countless important biological functions. These functions power everything from keeping your blood circulating through your body to expanding and contracting your muscles, using your brain to solve problems, and much more.
Food can carry good information—messages that instruct your cells to continue functioning optimally— as well as misinformation depending on your dietary choices. For example, the message that orange slice is carrying to your DNA versus the processed and pre-packaged cookie isn’t going to be the same. Just as healthy food choices will deliver good information to your cells, poor dietary choices can misinform your cells.
When you think of all of the manmade, processed items we consume, all of the pesticides that get into our foods, and all of the nonsensical molecules used in snack foods like polyester sucrose, you are introducing something that your cells have never seen before. So what kind of misinformation does a new-to-nature molecule, such as a pesticide or preservative relay to your DNA?
In essence, our bodies don’t know what to do with this kind of misinformation and enough of it, causes consistently wrong signaling to occur deep within the cells of the body, which can potentially lead to negative outcomes. And while a change in diet can help correct the messages sent, supplementing your diet with a high-quality multivitamin and mineral, that contains key messaging molecules that would be present in an excellent diet, can also aid in effective cell communication.
About Dr. Kevin Spelman
Dr. Kevin Spelman currently serves as Executive Vice President for USANA’s research and development laboratories, and directed quality control and R&D for the largest manufacturer of liquid extracts in the United States. Dr. Spelman is a past National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow and Marie Curie research fellow in the European Union, has published 27 scientific papers, and has been a contributing author on many other publications. He also advised the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine and provided expert testimony to the Maryland House of Delegates and the Maryland Senate. His past research includes molecular biology of the brain and ovarian cancer, as well as clinical investigations, immunological studies, and chemical analysis on multiple natural products.