Do you remember feeling sick on family holiday holidays as a child? Were you cautious about the milk in France or Spain? Did it taste funny? Did you have a constantly runny nose throughout your school days?
Today, one-size-fits-all diet advice is causing a huge amount of chaos. People of all different sizes, ages, women or men, from childhood to old age, different genetic origins, frame sizes and activity levels.l
During 2020, many people who went out to work each day experienced a sudden change to their daily routine: staying at home. Many people put on weight. In John Yudkin’s book This Slimming Business, he shows how studies of people who took little, some or much exercize varied in appetite. Both low and medium levels of activity ate less than those who were highly active.
Public health advice to base every meal on starchy carbohydrates is only correct for those who are going to use that fast-releasing energy soon after eating. If the energy circulating in our blood as glucose or blood sugar is not used, it will be stored for another period of regular activity.
This means that during lockdowns, our bodies change to adapt to our new sedentary lifestyles.
We also lack enough sunlight to make vitamin D in the United Kingdom over the winter half of the year and anytime where we don’t go outside for at least 10-25 minutes, according to our shade of skin.
It seems as if our public health officers know very little about healthy lifestyles. They prescribe drugs or vaping to stop smoking. The tell people to base every meal on starchy carbohydrates as if we were medieval peasants. They recommend 5 pieces of fruit or vegetables everyday, giving us far too much sugar. They include enriched and fortified foods in their lists, which are stripped of natural nutrients and supplemented artificially.
It has been widely reported that we need more micronutrients as we get older. This session on Nutrition Concerns for Ageing Populations, taking place at Tufts University in Boston USA says:
People become less active, their metabolism slows, their energy requirement decreases, all of which mean that they need to eat less.
Recent research demonstrates that because older adults’ abilities to absorb and utilize many nutrients become less efficient, their nutrient requirements (particularly as a function of body mass) actually increase.
Maintaining a nutrient-dense diet is critically important for older adults because of the impact of food intake on health.
As Pelchat discussed, aging is often accompanied by a loss of appetite and changes in taste and smell, all of which can lead to more limited food choices and lower intake of healthful foods.
This means that Hearth Nutrition is primarily for people aged 40 plus, particularly women, who may have stopped going out to work each day, which means their lifestyle and dietary requirements have changed too. We need to increase our nutritional intake as we get older.
Here is a link to a study called Immune Function and Micronutrients Requirements Change Over the Life Course.
As well as needing vitamin D3 or D2 dietary supplements during the winter in the UK, micronutrients are important to protect us against viruses. This BMJ piece shows the role micronutrients play in the wake of COVID-19
We also become intolerant to foods that don’t agree with us as we get older. Not to forget allergies, of course, which are over-reactions by the immune system to nutrients the body doesn’t need.
We can work out a certain amount of our own ideal diet by considering:
Our genetic origins: if we have fair skin and originate from colder climates, we need more fat in our diet to make vitamins we don’t get from sunlight, such as vitamin D. If we come from somewhere with tropical fruit, we can process vitamins while simultaneously using the fast releasing energy.
Our location: those living in inner cities will need more nutrition to deal with increased levels of pollution, which means it is healthy to have more colds if the air quality is less good. Those living by the sea benefit from sea swimming and fresh seafood, particularly line-caught instead of farmed fish fed on grains.
Our age: as we get older: we need more nutrient rich foods to get the amount of vitamins we need.
Our activity level: if we eat starchy carbohydrates, but do not use the sugar in our blood, it will be stored away for future use, as these foods contain few nutrients, amino acids or omega 3 fatty acids. In fact, too much grain in the diet unbalances the Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio we need to be healthy.
Our size: if we are big framed (measured by head, hands and feet) we need more calories than if we are petite.
This all means that our tastes, preferences, intolerances, ethics, diets and lifestyles are up to us. We need the information to be able to make informed choices for ourselves.
Below are lists of the micronutrients we need each day, foods they come from and dietary supplement recommended daily amounts (RDAs) for nutrients missing in the diet.