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Nutrition FAQS

Your questions answered

Basics

Nutrition is the process of obtaining energy and nutrients from food and using it for the biological and physiological processes which support life.

Nutrition is important for maintaining good health. Nutrition plays a central role in optimal health, immunity, performance and overall well-being.

Macros

Macronutrients are nutrients which provide us with energy. They are nutrients required in relatviely large quantities by the body, hence the term 'macro'. There are actually 4 ‘macros’ or macronutrients: Protein, Carbohydrate, Fat and Alcohol.

For a comprehensive breakdown of each macronutrient, head to the blog to read more about 'Personalised Nutrition and Your Macros'.
'Macros' is a shorthand term for 'macronutrients'. See our FAQ on macronutrients.
Protein is made up from amino acids which are the building blocks for the body, used for building, maintaining, and repairing tissues, cells, and organs. Protein also plays an important role in hormone and enzyme production.

We can obtain protein from animal and plant-based food sources. Most animal sources of protein, such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy, deliver all the amino acids your body needs, while plant-based protein sources such as grains, pulses, beans and vegetables often lack one or more of the essential amino acids. However, by eating a variety of plant-based sources of protein each day you can use clever combinations to ensure your body gets all the essential amino acids it needs.

Protein provides 4 calories per gram.

Head to our blog to read more on 'The Science Behind How Much Protein You Need'.
Carbohydrates in the form of glucose are the body's primary source of energy. They are required for brain and organ function, as well as fuelling us for physical activity.

You can find carbohydrates in a wide range of foods:

Whole-grains (Brown Rice, Quinoa, Oats)
Fruits (Apples, Bananas, Berries)
Vegetables (Broccoli, Carrots, Kale)
Legumes (Chickpeas, Lentils, Beans)

Carbohydrates contain 4 Kcal per gram.
Carbohydrates are sugars that come in two primary forms: 'complex' and 'simple'.

‘Simple’ carbohydrates, or “simple sugars” and 'starches', include fruit, syrups and sugars, often found in processed foods.

‘Complex’ carbohydrates include vegetables, grains, potatoes, beans and pulses.
Fats are the body's primary store of energy.

Fats are required for several important functions:

- Fats are energy dense, providing 9 calories per gram.
- Fats enable the absorption of our fat soluble vitamins, so that’s vitamin A, D, E and K.
- Fats are essential for the production of hormones
- Fats are a source of essential fatty acids (essential because they cannot be synthesised by the body, such as our Omega-3s which can be found in oily fish) which are vital cell growth and healthy cell functioning, particularly related to optimal functioning of nerves and the brain
There are 3 types of dietary fat - Saturated, Mono-unsaturated and Poly-unsaturated.

Unsaturated are found mostly in plants (nuts seeds, avocado, olive oil), and saturated fats found mostly in animal sources (dairy, eggs, meat), but most foods will contain both.

We want to ensure we consume a variety of high quality fat sources to ensure we are getting the different types of dietary fat our body requires.
Yes!

There are actually 4 ‘macros’ or macronutrients: Protein, Carbohydrate, Fat and Alcohol. Alcohol isn’t generally included when we refer to macronutrients. Although it contains 7 calories per gram, it doesn’t really provide any additional nutritional benefits and is therefore not essential for the body to function optimally.
Water is not a macronutrient, though it is essential for the body to be hydrated to be able to function optimally.

Calories

The proper definition of a calorie is: 'one calorie is the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree celsius'.

Calories are units of energy we extract from our food during the process of digestion, and which our body uses to carry out its daily functions, such as thinking, breathing, running, or dancing!
Government guidelines recommend the following daily calorie intake based on the average weight, muscle mass and physical activity level.

Females: 2000 calories
Male: 2500 calories

These estimations are based on the population, not the individual.

It's essential to note, that there is no 'one size fits all' approach to nutrition. Everybody is unique and therefore so are our nutritional requirements.

The number of calories we require per day is completely individual and depends on a number of factors including our weight, height, sex, genetics, body composition, exercise frequency and activity level.

It can also vary depending on your current circumstance such as pregnancy, injury, or illness.

Our nutrition algorithm is built into our order form, and will calculate your individual daily calorie requirements based on your individual biometric data, your activity level, as well as your excercise or training frequency.
How many calories we burn in a day is referred to as our total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) and will vary from person to person.

TDEE will depend on both our resting energy expenditure (how many calories are burned just by being alive), and our physcial activity.

The industry-standard formula that we use to calculate our TDEE is the Mifflin St Jeor formula.
The calories in a roast dinner with depend entirely on the size and components of your roast!

The average roast dinner is said to contain between 800-100 calories per plate.
The calories in beer will vary depending on the type of beer you are drinking but on average contains between 180 - 250 Kcals.

1 can or bottle of lager contains approximately 150 Kcal
A small glass of wine (125ml) contains100 Kcal on average.
A large glass of wine (250ml) contains 200 Kcal on average.
The calories in a slice of pizza will vary depending on the size of the slice as well as the pizza toppings!

A margarita pizza contains on average 280 Kcal per slice.
The calories in an avocado will vary depending on the size of the avocado.

1 medium sized avocado contains approximately 320 calories.
The calories in a banana will vary depending on the size of the banana.

1 medium sized banana contains approximately 105 calories.The calories in a banana will vary depending on the size of the banana.

1 medium sized banana contains approximately 105 calories.

Micros

Micronutrients are nutrients required by the body in relatively small amounts, hence the term 'micro'. These are comprised of vitamins and minerals. Micronutrients play vital roles in the functioning of our body’s systems, and deficiencies can lead to detrimental effects on our health. They are termed 'essential' because we have to obtain them from food.
Minerals are the elements listed in the periodic table, such as iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc.
They support a wide range of functions such as growth, repair and maintenance, which are essential for the optimal functioning of our body.
Minerals are deemed 'essential' as they cannot be synthesised by the body and must be obtained through food.
There is a recommended daily intake for each mineral, which is measured in mg or g.
If we obtain less than the recommended level, this will result in deficiciences. However, for some minerals, such as iron, obtaining excessive amounts, can be toxic.
Vitamins are organic compounds containing carbon molecules which are required for us to live. They support a wide range of functions such as growth, repair and maintenance, which are essential for the optimal functioning of our body. There are 13 essential vitamins, all of which can be obtained from food, but can also be obtained via supplementation.
There is a recommended daily intake for each vitamin, which is keasured in mg.
If we obtain less than the recommended level, this will result in deficiciences. However, for some vitamins, obtaining excessive amounts, can be toxic.

There are two types of vitamins, fat-soluble and water-soluble.
Vitamins and minerals are often grouped together, as they are both categories of micronutrients.

Vitamins are organic compounds. There are two forms of vitamins, water-soluble and fat-soluble. Organic compounds are obtained from living organisms such as plants and animals, and can be broken down by sources such as air, water or heat. All vitamins are essential for the optimal functioning of our body.

Minerals are inorganic compounds. There are two forms of minerals, major minerals and trace minerals. Inorganic substances cannot be made by living organisms and are obtained through soil, and water. They maintain their chemical structure and cannot be broken down.
Fat soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E and K. They are found in high concentrations, mostly in fatty foods. The body can store fat-soluble vitamins for a period of time which means they may not need to be consumed on a daily basis.
Water soluble vitamins include vitamin C, and vitamin B complexes. Water soluble vitamins cannot be stored by the body, which means that any excess will be excreted via urine. They are found in small concentrations in a wider variety of foods than fat soluble vitamins.
B12 is found primarily in animal-based products: meat, fish, eggs and dairy.
B12 can also be found in a wide variety of fortified products such as yeast extracts (marmite), fortified plant-based milks or fortified cereals.
The best way to maintain energy levels is by consuming a healthy, balanced diet, based on whole foods.

Vitamins play an essential role in our metabolic processes, in particular, the process of generating energy.

Several vitamins which play an essential role in this process are our B-vitamins: vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8, B9 and B12, as well as magnesium, zinc, iron and vitamin C.
The best way to maintain energy levels is by consuming a healthy, balanced diet, based on whole foods.

Vitamins do help to support the healthy functioning of our immune system.Several vitamins play an essential role in this process. These include vitamin C, zinc, vitamin D, selenium, and vitamin A

Fibre

Dietary fibre is a term for a certain type non-digestible carbohydrate. Fibre cannot be digested in the small intestine, and therefore passes relatively unchanged into the large intestine (unlike sugars and starch).


Fibre is often split up in two categories:
- Soluble fibre: dissolves in water and becomes a gel-like substance in the body.
- Insoluble fibre: doesn’t dissolve in water and retains its form in the body.
Fibre is only found in plant-based foods. You can source fibre from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses (beans, lentils, chickpeas), nuts and seeds
1. Digestive health
Fibre's primary role is to help maintain a healthy digestive system. Insoluble fibre adds bulk to our stool and makes it softer. This helps to decrease the gut transit time and prevents symptoms such as bloating, constipation and diarrhoea.

2. Blood-glucose levels
A decent fibre intake has a positive effect on our blood glucose levels. Soluble fibre assists with the slowing down of passage through the gut, and gives digestive hormones more time to act, therefore preventing carbohydrate from being so quickly absorbed by the small intestine.

3. Cardiovascular Health and Cholesterol
There’s evidence that fibre also helps with the prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD) and improves serum lipid levels. Fibre lowers the total cholesterol and LDL (low-density lipoprotein, the “bad” cholesterol) without affecting HDL (high-density lipoprotein, the “good” cholesterol).

4. Weight Control
Fibrous foods are often bulky and, therefore, filling. This helps us to feel satiated for longer periods of time, which can help with weight management, by preventing overeating.
Government guidelines recommend a fibre intake of 30g a day.

For quick and easy tips on how to increase your fibre intake, head to our blog.

Supplements

A dietary supplement is a product designed to supplement specific nutrients within a your diet. They usually come in pill, capsule, liquid or powder form.
Supplements should never replace a healthy, balanced diet.
At Fresh Fitness Food, we wholeheartedly believe in a food-first approach, through a healthy and well-balanced diet. Most people consuming a balanced diet will obtain all the nutrients they require from food alone.

However, where a clients’ own lifestyle choices, or certain health conditions, affect the intake of specific nutrients, supplementation can sometimes be helpful to fill these gaps. This will depend on the individual.

There are some circumstances where a supplement will always be recommended for example, anyone following a vegan diet, should supplement with vitamin B12, or if you live in the UK, you should supplement with vitamin D throughout the winter months.

We always recommend speaking with a nutritionist of a GP before deciding to take additional supplements so that you can be sure these are right for you.

Supplements should never be used to replace a healthy, balanced diet, and do not provide the same health benefits as whole foods.
Vitamin D, the 'sunshine vitamin', is mainly obtained via sunlight exposure to our skin.

Vitamin D is important for maintaining bone and muscle health. It has also been shown to reduce inflammation and support optimal immune function.

Data from a PHE National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows that 23% have low levels of vitamin D, and are at risk for developing a deficiency.

Vitamin D provides a range of health benefits and is therefore encouraged if we cannot obtain optimal levels through diet and sunlight alone.

A supplement is advised for everyone, particularly during autumn and winter: October - March in the UK. Those with a darker skin pigment or people whose skin has little or no exposure to the sun should consider taking a supplement all year round. People over 60 years old should also consider taking a supplement, as the cells in your skin make less vitamin D from sunlight as you get older.

There are two forms of vitamin D, namely vitamin D3 and vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 is better absorbed and utilised by the body, so when purchasing supplements it is best to opt for vitamin D3.
Collagen is naturally found in our food, namely in meat and fish. However, consuming collagen doesn't necessarily mean that this will be used as collagen within the body. Collagen is a protein and is therefore broken down into amino acids. Once it has been broken down, it joins the 'amino acid pool'. These amino acids will be transformed by the body, into the protein that is required the most at the time. If the amino acid required is collagen, then the amino acids from the pool will be used to create this. It doesn't necessarily have to be consumed from dietary collagen.

Although there is some evidence that dietary collagen can lead to increased skin elasticity, these studies are fairly small, and further evidence is required to draw any concrete conclusion.

Similarly to dietary collagen, consuming collagen orally as a supplement, does not necessarily have any affect on the collagen within our body due to the build up and break down of the amino acid 'pool'.

At this time, we would not recommend collagen as a supplement.

To read more on what we really should be eating for optimal skin health, click here to head to our blog.

Misc

Electrolytes are minerals and salts, for example sodium, potassium, magnesium and chloride which are present in the blood.
Electrolytes carry a positive or negative charge and are therefore responsible for electrical impulses within the body such as the contraction of muscles, controlling nerve function, maintaining fluid balance within the body, maintaining pH levels with the body and transporting nutrients around the body.
Our kidneys regulate the balance of electrolytes within the body daily.

However, sometimes after very intense physical exercise or after illness, additional electrolytes may be required.

Electrolytes can be replenished natrually through whole food sources, for example one medium banana contains 422mg potassium, whilst whole milk contains 275mg calcium.

Sometimes people might prefer to consume a drink instead of food, making a smoothie with a greek yoghurt or a coconut water base for example.

There are also a wide variety of sports drinks and sachets available formulated to replenish electrolytes, which can be a quick and easy method, if you don't have time to create something from scratch.

Diets

A low carbohydrate diet is a diet whereby the intake of carbohydrates is reduced. There is no universally agreed definition of a 'low-carb' diet and so the degree of carbohydrate restriction can vary a great deal. For example some people think a low-carb diet provides 30% of calories from carbohydrates, whilst others believe this to be more like 15% of calories from carbohydrates.

We are able to offer a low carbohydrate plan.

The preference has a set macronutrient split of 35% protein, 25% carbohydrate and 40% fat, but the split can be further altered if the client desires, with a minimum of 15% carbohydrates.
A ketogenic diet is a diet with a very high fat content, moderate protein and very low carbohydrate content. There are variations on how the diet might be implemented, but on a typical ketogenic diet about 75% of calories come from fat and only about 10-20% from protein and 5-10% from carbohydrate.

We not offer ketogenic diets at Fresh Fitness Food.

For further information on Ketogenic diets, check out our blog here.
According to the NHS, a balanced diet involves the following:

- eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
- base meals on higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta
- have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks)
- eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein

At FFF our balanced meal preference has the following macronutrient split (percentage proportions of protein, carbohydrates and fat):

25% protein
35% carbohydrates
40% fat

Our balanced meal preference is designed in this manner, based on the most up to date scientific research, as well as trial and error with our clients over the past 7 years.

Our diet can be broken down simply into being made up of macronutrients and micronutrients. All of these components have crucial roles within the body, which is why consuming a balanced diet providing adequate portions of the macronutrients and micronutrients is important.

Head to the blog to find out more about what we think a balanced diet really looks like.
A healthy diet is a balanced diet which ensures we obtain all the nutrients we require to function optimally.

Our diet can be broken down simply into being made up of macronutrients and micronutrients. All of these components have crucial roles within the body, which is why consuming a balanced diet is important.

Macronutrients are the components in our diet required in relatively large quantities (hence the name macro), to keep the body functioning optimally. They include protein, carbohydrates and fat.

Typically, any diet that cuts out a whole food group or macronutrient is not something we would recommend. It can be extremely restrictive and unsustainable for many and so consuming a balanced diet is considered important.

Micronutrients provide your body with a balance of the above mentioned, nutrient dense macronutrients you will be working towards giving your body the micronutrient nourishment it requires. Micronutrients are only required by the body in small amounts and are comprised of essential vitamins and minerals e.g vitamin A, C and D, iron and zinc. They play vital roles in the functioning of our body’s systems, and deficiencies can lead to detrimental effects on our health.
A vegan diet is a plant-based diet, which contains absolutely no animal based products.
It is possible to have a healthy, balanced vegan diet, though just because it's vegan doesn't mean it's necessarily healthy.

Someone following a diet must still ensure they are consuming a balanced diet which provides them with all the macronutrients and micronutrients they require.

Not all nutrients can be obtained from plant-based foods alone, so most vegans will supplement their diet, for example with vitamin B12.
There is no 'one-size fits all' solution to nutrition, so there is no singular 'best' diet. What works for some might not work for others, and it can take a little trial and error to work out what works best for you.

Typically, any diet that cuts out a whole food group or macronutrient is not something we would recommend. It can be extremely restrictive and unsustainable for many and so consuming a balanced diet is considered important.

For our top tips on how to maintain a healthy diet, head to our blog and check out this article on 'How to eat healthily everyday'.

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