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. Several equations can be used to estimate how many calories you require to maintain your current weight, aka your maintenance calories.
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.
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.
How to use macronutrients to hit your goals
Fresh Fitness Food is the number one personalised nutrition service in the UK. Why? Well, apart from delivering delicious food to your doorstep daily, we are the only company that determines your specific nutritional requirements and applies that data to your food.
Given each individual requires different nutrients and different amounts of energy, we ensure we tailor our packages to our clients’ lifestyles and goals.
We create a meal plan that adds up to your calorie and macro daily targets and then weigh out each individual item of each meal to ensure your daily delivery of food hits that target. No two clients’ meals are the same as they are tailored exactly to you. You can be sure that you’re fuelling your body with exactly what it needs and focus on the things you love.
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.
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