Nutritional biochemistry is the study of nutrition as a science. It’s wonderful because nutritional biochemistry is something you can learn about and apply to yourself in order to improve your health. There’s such a big link between diet and health which is being capitalised on by many brands in order to make you buy their product and that’s all because of the importance nutritional biochemistry plays within health.

What Makes Up Nutritional Biochemistry?

Nutritional biochemistry encompasses many aspects of the relationship between food and the body including:

  • How food molecules are constructed on a cellular level.
  • The nutrients within foods.
  • How bioavailable nutrients are to the human body.
  • The food molecules absorbed and re-synthesised by your body.
  • When you eat (linked to your circadian rhythm).
  • How frequently you eat.
  • How much food you eat.
  • The amount of fibre you consume (insoluble and soluble).
  • Your sources of protein, fats and carbohydrates.
  • The types of protein, fats and carbohydrates consumed.
  • The effect of food on the body (metabolically and physiologically).

What you eat and how you eat massively impacts your body. It gets much deeper than this and I’ve probably missed out quite a few points on the list as well. Let’s delve in deeper into how you can change the way you eat and optimise your nutritional biochemistry so you can live long and stay healthy.

Optimising Nutritional Biochemistry

Time-Restricted Feeding

Time-restricted feeding doesn’t look at what you eat, but ratherĀ when you eat and for the duration in which you consume food during a typical day. You can eat as much food as you like, but you’ll probably find you eat less food by simply constraining you eating window to a smaller portion of the day.

Most people doing time-restricted feeding follow a 16:8 protocol where they don’t eat for 16 hours of the day and eat for the other 8 hours. As some people get used to not eating 16 hours daily, they may find they can decrease their eating window to 6 hours, then 4 hours and so on until you could potentially just be eating one BIG meal a day.

Dietary Restriction

On the other hand, dietary restriction doesn’t limit when you eat and you can still eat as much as you’d like, but you’re removing certain food groups from your diet. All diets tend to have some form of dietary restriction which is why these ways of eating are called ‘diets’.

Some examples of such diets are:

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is different from time-restricted feeding in the sense that intermittent fasting is typically going for periods of time without food interspersed with regular eating as you would normally throughout the day consuming breakfast, lunch and dinner.

This could involve doing a 2 day fast drinking only water or even a 7 day fast.

Caloric Restriction

Caloric restriction is simply the act of reducing your calorie intake below maintenance levels. This will trigger cellular responses within the body causing the body to utilise body fat as a fuel source for energy. This could be done for a short period of time such as a week, where you consume 70% of your normal daily calories before returning back to consuming the regular amount of calories you would typically consume. It’s not ideal to do this for a long period of time as it can chronically stress the body by putting you in an energy-deprived state, but it can certainly be beneficial for a short period of time.

Some people will do caloric restriction in conjunction with intermittent fasting where over a period of 5 days or so, they will consume a maximum of 30% of their regular amount of calories each day. When they realise it’s not so bad consuming such a small amount of calories, some will choose to simply not eat anything. Some feel better not eating anything when they choose to fast (myself included).

Final Notes

Utilising these four methods of optimising nutritional biochemistry provides a great way to optimise your health. You can use all of them or just a few and don’t feel like you have to implement them all the time. If you were to intermittent fast for most of your life you’d probably feel lethargic all the time.

If something doesn’t seem to work for you such as dietary restriction by following a vegetarian diet, consider changing it to see what’s effective. If you consume such a low amount of calories that you can’t focus and it’s imperative that you’re mentally sharp at work, then eat some more calories (ideally from whole, minimally processed foods of course). Everyone will react slightly different to each of these protocols looking at optimising nutritional biochemistry – learn and adapt by experimenting with them to find your optimum!


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