How Bad Is Junk Food For Your DNA?

By Raluca Schachter

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

If we all dropped dead after eating junk food, the message would have been loud and clear: DO NOT INGEST! But this is one of the things we probably have to learn the hard way. Many people these days struggle through a long time of sickness, being plagued with low immunity, high toxicity, and a wide range of metabolic imbalances. Most likely they will have to leave this world in a hospital, after a long addiction to medical drugs and doctors.

In the Aboriginal tribes on the other hand, the elderly leave their community and go alone to die in the wilderness when they “feel” it’s time to go. Just like that, on their own feet. Decent. Proud. Simple. Peaceful. In perfect harmony with Nature.

Most modern, “civilized” people refuse to make and acknowledge any connection between the food they ingest, their lifestyle and their health. And they can do that because the effects are both cumulative and most of the times delayed.

When you store enough toxins to build up cancer in your body, the first thought that comes to mind is ”I have to kill it“, NOT ”The food I ate and the lifestyle I had were bad, I have to start all new and heal my body and mind“. As you see, the focus is mainly to “kill” something external, a disease that fell on our heads with no reason, out of nowhere (like conventional medicine likes us to believe) and NOT internal, based on our own actions and choices.

This mentality allows it to easily find excuses that validate our eating behavior, with no regard to the massive negative effect the junk food industry has on the human race. And processed, toxic food can come in many forms and sizes: from packaged dinners, “cardboard” cereal boxes, factory raised meat, pasteurized conventional dairy, GMO foods, to candy and even eating un-sprouted, un-soaked, and un-fermented grains, legumes and nuts.

Some of us have awaken and now see the connection. They see and understand that you ARE what you eat…

But have you ever wondered…”How bad is it, really, to eat junk food?”

To put it simple, it goes down to your DNA. Here are the scientific facts:

1. The connection between FOOD and ALTERED GENES in humans

What we eat and what we are exposed to in our environment directly affects our DNA and its expression. Epigenetic factors (“beyond the control of the gene”) are directly and indirectly influenced by the presence or absence of key nutrients in the diet, as well as exposures to toxins, chemicals, pathogens and other environmental factors.

The “genetic material” a mother transmits to her baby is made up of very complex factors, but they all come down to the answers to these simple questions: What did the mom eat? What was her lifestyle? What were her health problems?

In her book “Deep Nutrition“, Catherine Shanahan, MD talks about how genes are affected by the foods we eat:

Epigenetic researchers study how our genes react to our behavior, and they’ve found that just about everything we eat, think, breathe, or do can, directly or indirectly, trickle down to touch the gene and affect its performance in some way. (…) Not only does what we eat affect us down to the level of our genes, our physiques have been sculpted, in part, by the foods our parents and grandparents ate (or didn’t eat) generations ago. (…) (1)

In 2005 scientists from Spain that study epigenetics showed why twins with identical DNA might develop completely different medical problems. And this is very important because conventional medicine wants us to believe that many diseases are out of our own control, that beautiful and healthy people are just a matter of luck and genetic chance.

The study showed that “if one twin smokes, drinks and eats nothing but junk food while the other takes care of her body, the two sets of DNA are getting entirely different chemical “lessons” – one is getting a balanced education when the other is getting schooled in the dirty streets of chemical chaos. ” (1)

So genes actually make very intelligent decisions guided in part by the chemical information in the food we eat. Food is the primary way we interact with our environment and it CAN alter genetic information in the space of a single generation. Researchers have become to understand that DNA has been programmed at some point in the past by epigenetic markers that can turn certain DNA portions on or off in response to certain nutrients. If, for example there is no enough calcium and vitamin D in the body, the genes remain “dormant” (turned off) and less bone is built in the body, until the specific nutrients are again available. A “forgetful”, “dormant”, “turned off” gene can be “retrained” to function normally under the right environment.

The anthropologic literature is full of evidence and discoveries that link skeletal modification over time to dietary changes. Narrow face, small jaw, crooked teeth, thinned lips, thin bones, flattened features can be all observed in modern generations. And disproportionality disables the body’s ability to function properly.

2. Gene mutation and Methylation

It is estimated that 49% of the general population has an under methylation gene defect. They cannot detoxify well. “More than any other molecule, methyl groups are involved in the healthy function of the body’s life processes, and more than any other molecule, the lack of methyl groups for methylation is involved in chronic, degenerative diseases, autoimmune concerns, hormonal processes and neurotransmitter balances.(…)

The onslaught of cellular damage has only increased in the past ten years. The toxic environment damages cellular function deep within the cell’s epigenetics. Ionizing (x-rays, mammograms) and non-ionizing (cell phones, airport scanners) radiation damage DNA. Genetically modified food damage DNA more and more every day as Round Up Ready genetically modified (GMO) toxins are being incorporated into infants DNA around the world.” (2)

How do methyl groups get damaged?

Poor nutrition along with stress, free radical damage, lack of vitamin B 12 and folic acid and exposure to environmental toxins all damage methyl groups. Methyl groups also decline with the aging processes.

Why are methyl donors so important?

Our bodies conduct a billion methylation processes every moment of our lives! Methyl groups keep every cell doing its correct job for the good of the whole according to the body’s innate intelligence. (2)

They unlock the resistance to healing by supporting the cells with nutrition required for them to heal themselves. All genuine healing is within the cell.

The body uses millions of methyl groups to turn on the stress response according to the laws of Nature. But if a person does not have sufficient methyl donors, that person won’t be able to turn off the stress process anymore.

In a cellular methylation process called DMA Methylation, methyl groups attach to cromosomes and deactivate certain gene sequences so we don’t express them. This includes deactivating disease processes, viral genes and other deleterious elements that may be introduced to a person’s genetics. (2)

Methylation helps convert dangerous molecules to ones that the liver, gall bladder, and kidneys can eliminate.

Excessive weight gain and the inability to lose weight is a cellular issue – one involving inflammation, the cell membrane, anti-oxidants and… methylation!

These are just a few of the very important and numerous roles methylation is conducting. To find more information about this extremely complex process you could check out these websites:

3. The connection between FOOD and ALTERED GENES in animals

Our ancestors chose their food in terms of : good soil, healthy animal, freshly picked. It was not the cheapest, the fastest or the most convenient. And this was the reason they kept themselves healthy and thriving, staying connected to their land.

Not the case these days anymore. A surprising conclusion was drawn in a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition regarding conventional fed chickens versus organically fed chickens. It seems that organically fed chickens develop a different process of gene expression in their small intestines than that of chickens which get conventional feed.

“The result is that the genes responsible for creating cholesterol have a higher expression in organically fed chickens, yet these birds do not have elevated blood cholesterol levels. Researchers were surprised to discover that simple differences in cultivation methods can have such a drastic outcome in how chickens process their food and express it in their genes. Dr. Astrid de Greeff from Livestock Research and her colleagues came to find that 49 genes ended up regulating differently in the organic group.” (3)

As you see, you might not feel the negative effects of junk food today or tomorrow. You might even be one of the lucky ones that have stronger, healthier genes and feel relatively ok until later in life. But in the end, that doesn’t mean you and your future generations will be immune to the explosion of Franken-foods that flooded the world and are ingested every day. The old excuse “my grandma lived to be 90 and smoked and drank her whole life, I can do the same” doesn’t apply anymore, and now you know why. Because she already passed down poor genetic material determined by her lifestyle. It can’t get better from there.

Article References

Recommended reading by Raluca Schachter:

About the author:

RalucaLong-time contributor Raluca Schachter is a passionate Nutritionist, Metabolic Typing Advisor, and a Weston A. Price Chapter Leader. She believes in the benefits of traditional unaltered food, ancestral wisdom, sustainable farming and simple living.

Raluca was able to naturally reverse chronic health conditions she was struggling with most of her life, and now uses her knowledge to help as many people as possible do the same. Her unique Metabolic Typing® Ecological Lifestyle Programs for Optimal Health offer a very unique and comprehensive approach to health, where individual nutritional and biochemical requirements are firstly met using specific nutrients and foods that each metabolism thrives on. Raluca offers her services for local and distance clientele.

You can connect with Raluca via:


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  • This is a timely article because I have just finished reading the book “Deep Nutrition.” I also have helped a client who’s an acupuncturist research the latest in nutrition information. We have had since the beginning of hte year two – 10 week classes with between 8 and 15 patients each and have found that eliminiating wheat, dairy, sugar, processed foods, processed vegetable oils and GMOs does absolute wonders for the patients’ health! I mean people with strange pains in arms, backs and migraines have had symptoms eliminated in abiout 2 weeks on the regimen! I myself have gotten rid of strange stiffness that began about 2 years ago when I awakened from sleeping by eliminating these so-called foods (and I’m 2 years older now!) No more stiffness and skin issues or stomach aches! I am convicned nutrition is THE main key. Thanks for this article!

  • royce

    So is there anyway i can reverse all that DNA damage i got as a kid from all that crap my parents fed me?

    • Yep, changing the diet…no more processed foods, vaccinations,antibiotics,most body care products are dangerous, reduce grain consumption and only eat organic grains or you can be sure they are genetically modified. Fresh organic Vegetable juices help, plenty of good organic animal fats.

      • Janers

        Agreed other than animal fats. Animal fats are not needed & inferior nutrition. Even organic, animal fats cause problems and build up in the human body: leading to cancers, osteoporosis,& atherosclerosis (etc). There are plenty of better protein, iron, & *healthy* fat sources.

        • brenda

          hmmm, not so so sure, how come the swiss, 50 years ago, chose the fattiest chunks of bacon, rather than lean and lived to in their 90’s at least.


    • John

      There’s a great doco called “Forks over Knives” which may be helpful & Joe Crosses, ” Fat, Sick, Ugly and nearly dead” as well

  • Frank Ntiti

    junk food is a weapon of eugenics to bring world human population down by a large gap; and a conspiracy in Collaboration with Big Pharmaceutical Corporations to further poison you with chemicals and chemotherapy that kill one in five and debilitate the rest. Occupy MOSANTO and BILL GATES.

  • Raluca Schachter

    Christine – I’m glad you liked my article, thank you for sharing your experience! I’ve seen similar changes in people I worked with by making dietary changes, eliminating processed foods and eating according to their metabolism. I recently had a 48 person that had terrible back pain even in his 30s. He would bend down and couldn’t get up anymore…Since he eliminated the junk food (and he still needs to make many changes as far as diet and lifestyle) he hadn’t have any such terrible back pain anymore! Can bend without problems..And the examples are MANY!

  • Raluca Schachter

    Royce – YES, you can do a LOT of things to reverse most of the health imbalances and ensure a “healthier” DNA. Many genes are “dormant” – they switch on and off according to the nutrients you feed your body. Give it what it needs and you’ll see the difference for yourself! As far as choosing the foods that are good for your metabolism, that you are thriving on: I’d be glad to help you with that. Go to my website or FB profile and send me a message and we’ll go from there.

  • Awesome article. It always disturbs me to think of the Millions of dollars going into Cancer research, when the cure is not a pill or shot or whatever, but rather a simple in balance with what Nature Intended…diet.

  • Lisa

    This is amazing. I am only 20, and I have been recovering from a virus (and liver) infection for over a year now. I got this due to a combination of exhaustion, bad food, and anti malaria medication while traveling. Well to make a long story short: it’s such a SHAME that it takes a serious illness to ‘wake up’. It is crazy how the western world got so ‘removed’ from nature. I am desperately trying to make people in my environment see how import diet is. But I’m not succeeding. Does anybody have a suggestion for me on how to make friends see that a healthy diet is extremely important?

  • Raluca Schachter

    Lisa, I can tell you from personal experience that this is a REALLY hard thing to do. Human nature is resistant to change by definition. Most of the people look for instant gratification, and the last thing they want to hear is that they need to give up things they like and change their habits. Change requires pain. And this is a society that runs away from pain in all forms. But pain is “good”, it helps you change. In your case it had a positive effect. And it happened to many others. This doesn’t mean we should all give up and wait until situations get really bad, on the contrary. Do what you love doing and do it with a passion, talk loud and clear about your experience of “waking up” and how it will help you and others be healthier, blog if you have time, because you definitely can’t save everybody but you CAN save many. Those that are ready will come to you, you don’t have to seek them.

  • eroc

    I’d like to emphasize how important water is to our health. Matsuro Emoto proved scientifically that water can hear you, water has memory, and that water stores emotional data. Willhelm Reich proved illness is created from emotional data stored in our cells. Our bodies are 60% water, our brain is 70% water, and our blood is 80% water. Viktor Schauberger proved that as long as water stays below 48.2 °F (9 °C), its oxygen content stays passive, which means that the oxygen helps in the building of high-grade organisms (just like our blood). Water temperature rising above 48.2 °F will become active and aggressive promoting the propagation of pathogenic bacteria…Conclusion: Drink cold water and thank your water before you ingest it. Tell the water how much you appreciate it. Be nice to everyone and be nice to yourself because your emotional output has a direct effect on the water within your human body which controls your overall health.

  • Jennifer Rodriguez

    Thank you! Thank you! More people need to be woken up to the dangers of junk food and processed food. Thank you for waking people up. This article needs to be heavily promoted by EVERYONE!