We generally judge healthy foods by the nutrition it holds, and we decide how healthy our diet is by the nutrients we take in. We consider nutrients a rather linear concept; we either take in enough or we don’t — and if we don’t its lack of presence in our bodies could result in an ailment. This way of thinking seems rather logical… on the surface.
Some researchers think we are looking at nutrition completely wrong, and have proposed an alternative way to look at it. First let’s look at what they think is the problem, which is how we view nutrition now. We generally view nutrients on a singular basis, such as how many carbs are we getting, or how much fat, or sugar. Researchers believe the issues that we face on a nutrient basis are more complex than the singular nutrient model that we follow now. Its lack of complexity isn’t keeping up with foods that contain blends of nutrients as well as how mixtures of nutrients affect us.
Now for the solution: Researchers from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre created a new framework on how we look at nutrition that considers how mixtures of nutrients and other dietary components influence health and disease, as opposed to just focusing on a singular nutrient at a time. Researchers call this “nutritional geometry,” and they believe it’s the future of how we view human nutrition.
“Our new approach provides a unique method to unify observations from many fields and better understand how nutrients, foods and diets interact to affect health and disease in humans,” says Professor David Raubenheimer, who heads the Nutrition Theme at the Charles Perkins Centre.
It’s a unique concept for unique problems — specifically obesity. This approach doesn’t just look at one nutrient, but rather how that one nutrient interacts with others and how our bodies interact with that. The researchers’ goal with this is to look at issues such as obesity from multiple angles with the hopes of being able to produce solutions that will have optimal benefits.
As noble as that may sound, it may sound excessive to some. Yes, it may be beneficial to offer new ways to see a problem, but for many when it comes to being overweight it could be because of over-consumption in general or over-consumption of the wrong foods. The issue of overeating or make bad food choices can be solved, even if it’s easier said than done. However, with a change in our nutrition labels on the horizon, this may be a welcomed accompaniment to we view what we eat in the future.