The answer to this question is probably far more accurate than anyone could imagine. Sure, we can envision the poster of a child looking like a banana or a piece of broccoli and feel all warm and fuzzy that we’re doing the best for our body.

“You are what you eat” is a saying that has been around for decades now, if not centuries. The connotation is that, if you eat healthy foods, you will be healthy. Few picture the concept in reverse.

The concept of “xenohormesis” is not a new one. This suggests that stress messages from lower down on the food chain are ingested by those higher on the food chain. Consider that in the context of today’s society. Imagine that every molecule of the foods we eat can pass a message down to the very heart of what you are–your DNA. What kind of message does a fast food happy meal send to your child’s genes? The foods we eat can truly create health or create disease at the genetic level in a very direct pathway.

Consider the intake of abused, contained, poorly fed, stressed out commercial livestock. The physiology of these creatures are screaming stress. This message than gets passed to the oblivious consumer eating the McDonald’s hamburger, increasing the stress messages within his or her own body.

What about GMO foods (foods that have been messed with genetically so that they can be resistant to wanton spreading of toxic pesticides without being killed themselves)? The messages sent from these foods may be of a nature that the human body has never, ever experienced before.

This particular article is a little biochemically oriented, but adds some fascinating touches to xenohormesis. Researchers have actually identified small RNA fragments that clearly get absorbed into our bodies and affect cell behavior at the genetic level.

This brings xenohormesis out of the realm of theory and into the realm of fact. It also creates and almost overwhelming range of possibilities for what we really mean when we say, “You are what you eat.”

Consider this the next time you opt for a processed meal, a fast food lunch, genetically altered GMO foods (most commonly in soybeans and corn). Realize that the foods you are eating are sending a screwed up, dangerous message to your very DNA.

Contrast this with eating a diet filled with unprocessed foods as organic as possible in an environment that is soothing and relaxing and continues to promote food as a celebration of life and an experience to be enjoyed to its fullest.

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.


  1. Now I’m wondering if the youthful look that a lot of vegetarians have doesn’t come from eating whole, unprocessed, (usually) raw fruits and veggies///

Comments are closed.