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  • Writer's pictureJillian Tedesco

Algebra Before Calculus in Nutrition

Tough Love from Jillian - The Newsletter

Who loves Calculus? That one nerd in class that it comes easy to is smiling right now. It’s typically the few that actually get it and enjoy doing it right?

We all remember that school started with basic math, then algebra, then geometry, then algebra 2, then calculus. We needed the foundation before we could take our basics and apply them to complex math equations. Nutrition is exactly like that.

Nutrition is a study of the human body and how food works with our systems to support our performance, health and weight. Let’s be honest, the ones who know nutrition are the ones who studied nutrition in college, or become certified. Those who practice educating and guiding nutrition can be considered experts only if they also exemplify nutrition with their well being.

Those people tend to be the RDs (we have our own at fit-flavors), trainers, nutrition coaches, holistic doctors, and health food bloggers.

How do you even know where to get the right info? Where do you even start? It’s so overwhelming to even think about it. Start first by examining your own goals with nutrition.

Example A: To lower cholesterol

Example B: To lose 35 lbs through fitness and nutrition

Now take for instance math: if you were an architect you would fully understand basic math but specialize in geometry and trigonometry. If you were a physicist you fully understand basic math and would specialize in calculus and differential equations. If you want to lower cholesterol, you would understand basic nutrition, but would have a purposeful focus on fats, and recipes best for lowering one's cholesterol. If you were trying to lose weight, you would understand basic nutrition with an emphasis on macronutrients and how they fuel you differently when exercising.

So, what is basic nutrition? - Understanding macronutrients and their purposes - Knowing what foods are what macronutrients - Know how to build a balanced plate in portion control - Be able to take those principles out to eat - Know how to read a food label

Now let's compare calculus to nutrition. Calculus for nutrition would be executing a specific diet in a way to alter your body composition.

A great example is a body builder. They use the science behind nutrition to alter their physical appearance in addition to physical fitness.

Another example is a cancer survivor on the ketogenic diet. They have learned to eat a specific way so glucose/sugar can’t live in their body (cancer thrives on sugar).

Yet another, someone who is type 2 diabetic, alters the amounts of carbohydrates they consume to control blood sugar levels in the body since their pancreas can’t process carbohydrates in the same way as someone without the disease.

Nutrition calculus is understanding scientifically what is happening internally and you are intentionally eating a certain way to render results. Typically those who are properly doing nutrition calculus understand basic nutrition.

Are you putting calculus before basic math when it comes to nutrition? I want to encourage you to be honest about what you know and what you don't know. Does your level of understanding line up with your health and wellness goals? Be honest with yourself.




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