Scientific help in navigating the nutrient profile space?


#1

I’d like to figure out what nutrient profile to follow for my own recipe. The ones available in the DIY calculator vary greatly, and I’m not happy to just pick the most popular one.

Now, I understand that [1] everyone’s requirements are different, and [2] nutrition is not an exact science, and [3] nutritionists like to disagree about stuff. But I know we must have some facts, at least to narrow things down. Frankly, if I can’t base my choices on something solid, I don’t much see the point.

I’m aware that organizations (like the NHS in the UK, where I live) make health recommendations that are probably based somewhat on science, but they do vary from country to country, and I’m afraid they might be optimized for population health rather than individual health. For example (probably a stupid example, but it’ll make the point), they wouldn’t recommend 10 pieces of fruit per day, even if it was the healthiest choice, simply because the average person couldn’t keep that up. (I suppose it’s a place to start, though, and I will if I don’t find something better.)

So I guess my question is: What resources can you recommend, based at least partially on peer-reviewed research, to guide me in creating a good nutrient profile for myself? How much confidence do we have in the min and max amounts of existing nutrient profiles? Which ones are absolute, and which ones are open to interpretation? …


#2

For micronutrients, the approach I’ve taken has been compiling a list of various different requirements from different boards, and targeting the highest of these requirements as a goal. If you are interested in following this approach, feel free to use my spreadsheet here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-d4osPXb_pL10hezGbxQtl-oQvBBU0005UmiE9K94Lw/edit

For certain micronutrients, I’ve also incorporated recommendations from The Perfect Health Diet (http://perfecthealthdiet.com/buy-our-book/), such as with vitamin D. I found their section on nutrient interactions particularly helpful, as this is something other sources don’t tend to go into detail on, but is very important.

I also used The Perfect Health Diet when selecting my macronutrient profile. Their section on fats is extremely helpful, and is what led me to intake a lower level of PUFAs than most 'lents offer, and instead replace these with saturated MCT fats. The reason for this is that the intake of PUFAs currently is, according to the book, far too high, due to a) omega 6 being inflammatory and b) PUFAs being extremely easily oxidised (and oxidised fats being very bad for you). I took their advice on omega 3 recommendations, set omega 6 to be between 1x and 2.3x omega 3 content, and composed the rest of my daily fats from mainly MCTs and saturated fat, along with a little monounsaturated fat.

The book also has interesting information on the other macronutrients, and overall recommends a macronutrient ratio of 30/18/52 carbs/protein/fat. Everything in the book is based on a good amount of research, and many citations are provided at the end of the book.

If you have any questions about the specifics I have outlined above (or anything else), let me know and I’ll try to find relevant quotations from the book.


#3

Hi Genesis,

Thanks! That spreadsheet looks useful, and could save me quite some work. Without actually having analyzed those numbers yet, let me just ask:

[1] You’re saying that there is a valid ‘intersection’ for the min-max ranges from those sources, i.e., there are micro-nutrient proportions that satisfy each of them?

[2] Can you supply links for those sources?

[3] Have you yourself been on that ‘diet’ for a reasonable amount of time? Have you run a blood-panel?

As for the book, well… There are so many books out there about healthy eating, and as far as I can tell, none of them have undergone proper peer-review (and calling your book PHD does not count). The reader results on their website are purely anecdotal and not statistically significant (it looks like more than it is, because many readers are repeated; Ctrl-F for L.B.). Most of those books cite scientific papers, but more often than not, the citations do not support the stated conclusion. And it’s a lot of work to figure this stuff out.

A profit motive always makes me suspicious from the outset.

The “paleo” concept itself is common enough, though, and I’ll definitely look into that.


#4

It seems like you are trying to get us to do your research for you.


#5

What gives you that impression?

No, I’m just asking whether people already have useful data, so I won’t have to I start from scratch. When I have something to share myself, of course I won’t hesitate to do so.


#6
  1. Sort of. Certain micros affect the absorption or requirement of others, eg vitamins A, D and to a lesser extent K2 are linked and optimal health requires a good balance of all three. There’s a good section in the book related to some of this.

  2. I’ll be able to when I’m back at my house in two days (I’m currently away). If I haven’t replied within three days, I’ve probably forgotten, so feel free to give me a reminder.

  3. By the diet, do you mean the 30/18/52 diet or with the micronutrients as described above? If micros, I’m just starting on one (have been awaiting a mix from axcho for a while which has finally arrived), though I believe Ketochow has used a similar mix, so long-term customers may be able to provide this. Regarding bloodwork, unfortunately my doctor is unwilling to recommend the tests because there is nothing wrong with my health. I may consider private testing if I can find a good one. If you meant the 30/18/52 diet, I’m doing keto so haven’t tried it, but will once I hit my target weight.

I must admit I haven’t checked every citation to verify accuracy of the conclusions reached. Some of the tables regarding micronutrient intake are taken directly from papers, and these do lead to understandable conclusions, though I understand your scepticism.

Paleo is a fairly good dietary option, because even if it doesn’t have any of the reported benefits, it’s extremely unlikely to cause health issues. I don’t personally follow a paleo diet, but it’s a solid option for those who do.