• How to improve body composition
    Blog,  Diet,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition,  Supplements

    How to improve body composition

    As seen previously, improving body composition can confer a competitive advantage to some athletes. Hence the interest of athletes and coaches on how to improve body composition. In general, improving body composition means decreasing fat mass and increasing fat-free mass or muscle mass (a.k.a. lean body mass). Besides training protocols and periodisation, there are nutrition approaches that can achieve a favourable change. How to improve body composition Body composition can be improved using a variety of nutrition approaches. Broadly speaking, they can be categorised as dietary manipulation (e.g. tweaking energy intake or macronutrient levels) and supplementation. Note that not all research in this area is done on athletes. Some studies…

  • How to eat more vegetables
    Blog,  Food,  Health,  Nutrition

    How to eat more vegetables

    According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines, adults should eat about 5 serves of vegetables for good health (1). However, only 7.5% of the adult population manage to meet their recommended target (2). Part of the problem is that some people don’t like vegetables, but it’s also true that many people don’t know how to eat more vegetables. How many serves of vegetables For most of the population from the age of 9, the recommended number of serves is around 5 serves per day. This varies based on gender (males need more) and life stage (pregnant and lactating women need more). Likewise, more active individuals, such as athletes, need more. The…

  • What is hormesis
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    What is hormesis?

    Hormesis is a concept borrowed from toxicology that explains why certain things that are toxic in high quantities can be beneficial at low doses. What is hormesis? Hormesis is a term that comes from toxicology and refers to the paradoxical beneficial effect experienced by an organism exposed to a low dose of a substance or environmental factor which is toxic at higher doses (1). This is called “biphasic dose response” in scientific lingo, often described as U-shaped or J-shape curve (1, 2, 3). It is believed that the role of hormesis is to restore homeostasis, i.e. a balanced state, when it has been disrupted. This allows organisms to adapt to…

  • How to survive the holiday season
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    How to survive the holiday season

    One month till Christmas! Yes, yes, Christmas 2020 will not be like any other Christmas but the holiday season always comes packed with plenty of opportunities to break healthy habits. Keep reading to find out how to survive the holiday season, 2020 edition. Holiday season, version 2020 This year everything is different. Although we are lucky that there are not as many cases in Australia as in other countries, the way we live our lives has changed, at least for a period of time. Many people are not back to their work or study places full-time and large gatherings are not allowed. Private gatherings are also meant to be held…

  • Energy density vs nutrient density
    Blog,  Diet,  Food,  Nutrition

    Energy density vs nutrient density

    When assessing whether a particular food is beneficial for you or not, energy density vs nutrient density is an important consideration to make. In general, you should seek out nutrient density for health. Energy density Density is a physical property of matter that describes the relationship between mass and volume (density = mass / volume). However, when talking about energy density, we refer to energy (kilocalories or kilojoules) / volume. Therefore, energy dense foods are those that pack a lot of energy in a small volume. Energy dense foods are often high in fat (because fat is the macronutrient with the most energy per gram: 9 kilocalories or 37 kilojoules)…

  • Magnesium and health
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Magnesium and health

    The relationship between magnesium and health is widely studied because of the importance of this essential nutrient in many body functions and the prevention of chronic diseases. What is magnesium? Magnesium is a mineral involved as a cofactor in many processes within the body, including metabolic functions (energy production, glucose breakdown, protein synthesis, RNA and DNA synthesis), bone development, immune and neuromuscular function (1, 2, 3). It’s also involved in the balance of calcium, sodium, potassium and antioxidants (1, 2, 4). The total amount of magnesium in an adult is about 25 grams, of which 50-60% is located in the bones (1, 3) and about 0.3% in serum (2). This…

  • Nutrient reference values vs nutrient intake in Australia
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Nutrient reference values vs nutrient intake in Australia

    We all know we should be eating vitamins and minerals but not many know how much. Is there a gap between nutrient reference values vs nutrient intake in Australia? What are nutrient reference values? Nutrient reference values (NRV) are the recommended levels of intake of different nutrients, based on scientific evidence about food intake and health. The NRVs for Australia and New Zealand are expressed as a recommended daily intake (RDI) of each nutrient, which is the average amount of the nutrient that is required for the majority of healthy individuals. For some nutrients where the RDI could not be determined, the recommendation is based on the adequate intake (AI)…

  • Ultra-processed foods
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Ultra-processed foods

    Ultra-processed foods, a.k.a. energy-dense nutrient-poor foods, discretionary choices or junk foods dominate modern supermarkets. They represent a large proportion of the average dietary intake in developed countries and, not surprisingly, are linked with poor health outcomes. What are ultra-processed foods? The term “ultra-processed” foods refers to the NOVA classification and it’s based on the degree of processing of foods. This classification has 4 categories: unprocessed or minimally processed (such as grains, meat, fish, milk, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds) processed culinary ingredients (such as sugar, oils and butter) processed foods ultra-processed foods (1, 2) Processed vs ultra-processed foods Have you ever met someone that tries to justify their junk…

  • Eat Like The Animals
    Blog,  Book review

    Book review: Eat Like The Animals (Dr David Raubenheimer and Dr Stephen J Simpson)

    Eat Like the Animals – What Nature Teaches Us about the Science of Healthy Eating is a fascinating book written by two brilliant scientists who are applying animal natural wisdom in human nutrition. The authors Although the authors tend to refer about themselves as “insect biologists”, they both have impressive careers and credentials. From their bios: “Professor Stephen Simpson AC is Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre, and a Professor in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney, and Executive Director of Obesity Australia.” and “David Raubenheimer joined the University in April 2013 as Leonard P Ullmann Chair in Nutritional Ecology.” You can read…

  • The Health Star Rating System
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    The Health Star Rating System

    The Health Star Rating System is a way of labelling food products in Australia to indicate their healthiness. Similar to energy ratings, health ratings are meant to guide consumers toward better choices. What is the Health Star Rating System? The Health Star Rating (HSR) labelling system was created by the Australian government in collaboration with industry, public health and consumer groups. It is being used voluntarily by manufacturers since June 2014 and reviewed every 5 years. Assigned ratings go from ½ star (least healthy) to 5 stars (most healthy), which are displayed on food product packaging. How is the Health Star Rating calculated? The HSR score is calculated as: baseline…