What is Personalised Nutrition?
Nutrition plays a central role in optimal health, immunity, performance and overall well-being. Our diet can be broken down simply into being made up of macronutrients and micronutrients. The amount of macronutrients one needs varies greatly from person to person and understanding what your own body needs is the key to finally hitting your goals.
We are all unique; we are of different heights, weights, ages and genders with different lifestyles and activity levels. Therefore, the energy we expend varies from person to person. That means we all need a different amount of fuel to get us through the day.
Our daily fuel can be looked at in terms of calories as well as how this is broken down between the 3 main macronutrients.
Different nutrients have different functions so engaging in certain types of exercise, having a different goal, being ill or pregnant can alter your nutritional needs. There truly is no one size fits all approach!
So how can we understand the best way to fuel ourselves? Let’s break it down.
Energy and Calories
Our bodies need energy and nutrients to survive and stay healthy. The energy in food is expressed as calories. How many you need depends on a number of factors including your body size and composition, the type of foods you eat and how active you are. This is your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).
Whether you should eat your maintenance calories calculated will depend on your goal. If you want to lose weight, you’ll need to eat less, leading to a calorie deficit. If you are looking to gain weight, you’ll need to eat more, creating a calorie surplus. Everyone starts at a different point and has a different goal they want to achieve and therefore needs a different composition of macronutrients and calories.
Total Daily Energy Expenditure
Your TDEE is determined by four key factors:
- BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate):
This is the number of calories you need at rest, not digesting any food and not moving. The energy you need to just keep your heart beating, your lungs breathing and fuelling your cells. This makes up about 60% of your energy expenditure for most people. BMR is affected by body size and composition: bigger bodies have more cells and need more energy. It also matters what your body is made of. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, which is another reason why it’s beneficial to lift weights, even if your goal is fat loss.
At FFF, we use the Mifflin St. Jeor Equation. The formulas are below:
Men: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5
Women: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161
- NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis):
NEAT is the number of calories expended during daily movement that is not considered exercise. This includes activities such as walking the dog, moving from one room to another, fidgeting, getting out of bed or taking the stairs to your front door.
It is highly variable from one person to another and can play a large or small role in your overall TDEE depending on how physically active your job or daily life is. For example, if you have a very physical job where you are on your feet all day, your NEAT will play a larger role in your TDEE, than if you have a desk-based/sedentary job.
- EAT (Exercise Activity Thermogenesis):
EAT is the number of calories expended through planned exercise. This is also highly variable from one person to another or even from one day to another for the same person, due to the intensity of training, length of the workout, and training frequency.
- TEF (Thermic Effect of Food):
This is the energy you need to digest and absorb nutrients from the food you eat. Eating lots of processed foods means you’ll be at the lower end of this spectrum, and you won’t lose many calories digesting and absorbing food. The clue is in the name here: processing food does the digesting for you. If you eat a diet based on whole foods, your body needs to do all the work. Therefore TEF will be higher. This means you’re effectively absorbing fewer calories from your food. Great if you’re on a fat-loss diet.
We get our calories from 3 main macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates and fat. Each ‘macro’ has its own energy value. Protein and carbohydrates yield four calories per gram, and fat provides 9 calories per gram.
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy, required for brain and organ function, as well as physical activity. They also play a role in the structure and function of cells, tissues, and organs. Without carbohydrates, your body struggles to function properly and you may feel fatigued.
Carbohydrates consumed are metabolised into glucose. Simple, complex, low GI and high GI are common terms attributed to carbohydrates, Those which are metabolised quickly, releasing glucose into the bloodstream rapidly, and causing a quick rise in blood sugar levels, are known as simple carbohydrates, Simple carbohydrates are found in processed and refined sugars such as table sugar and syrups.
On the other hand, carbohydrates which are digested at a slower rate have less of an immediate effect on blood sugar levels and provide us with a prolonged steady energy release are known as complex carbohydrates. They include quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato and whole grains.
Protein is a building block for all bodily tissues, some enzymes and hormones. Elderly, growing, pregnant or people recovering from injury have an increased need for protein. Either because they are losing tissue or because they are trying to (re)build tissue. Exercise causes muscle damage and muscle then adapts, creating stronger or more efficient muscles. To enable this adaptation, protein is needed.
Proteins are primarily functional and structural components within each cell of the body and so are required for growth and repair, as well as the maintenance of optimal health. In addition to playing a vital role in the building and repairing of tissue, protein is also important for hormone and enzyme production and skin, hair, and bone health.
Protein is made up of essential and non-essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of your muscles. Essential amino acids are those which cannot be synthesised by the body and therefore must be obtained from food. In their absence, it would be impossible to build, repair or maintain muscle mass.
Eating good quality, lean sources of protein, for example, chicken, turkey, white fish, salmon, and eggs or perhaps plant-based alternatives such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas is a great starting point for a healthy diet. Eating the correct amount of protein is crucial when it comes to building muscle as in its absence your body will not have the amino acids it requires to repair the muscles used during exercise, which is what causes muscles to grow.
Fats provide lots of energy in a compact form and is an essential part of a healthy diet. Dietary fat is vital for growth and cell functions and allows for optimal functioning of nerves and the brain. They also assist in the production of hormones and are essential for the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, or ‘healthy’ fats, can be found in food such as nuts, seeds, salmon and avocado. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat thought to be essential for recovery, due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
Where does FFF come in with personalised nutrition?
At FFF, we use industry-leading analytics, your individual data and advice from qualified food scientists to create a personalised meal plan, which is unique to your caloric needs, macronutrient requirements and – of course – the foods you love to eat.
Our FFF app uses technology to align meals delivered to each individual client’s energy expenditure based on real-time data from their smartwatch. As new ways of measuring real-time data emerge, it presents the perfect opportunity for Fresh Fitness Food to continue to develop hyper-personalised meal plans for individuals.
Nutrition guidelines often focus on the general population, whereas at FFF, we focus on your individual requirements. There should be no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to nutrition. No two people are the same, so your diet shouldn’t be either!
For example, general guidelines for calorie needs suggest females require approximately 2000 calories per day for maintenance. However, for many sedentary individuals, this will likely exceed their requirements, whereas, for those who are extremely active, this will often be insufficient to support their energy expenditure. This highlights the clear importance of personalised nutrition!
Our service and accompanying app are made for anyone with a health or fitness goal and make achieving that goal as simple and convenient as possible.
Fresh Fitness Food provides personalised meals plans delivered straight to your door, ensuring not only that you have the nutrients you need to manage your stress levels, but also that you have the time usually spent shopping, cooking and washing up, to engage in your favourite stress reducing activity. To discuss which nutrition plan is right for you, book a call with our in-house nutrition team here.
Order today and start smashing your goals with personalised nutrition!
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