Nutrition Foundation

Introduction to nutrition


Nutrition refers to what, when, and how much we eat and drink.

Of all the Health Foundations nutrition probably has the greatest impact on metabolic health.

What we eat and drink is very personal. The food available to us, our dietary preferences, our emotions related to food, our physiology (how the body works), and our health goals all contribute to our food choices and what is best for us.

The effect different foods have on our health will also be affected by our other food choices and lifestyle factors.

There is no one-size-fits-all for nutrition, but there are some general principles that can guide helpful choices to improve metabolic health. These can be divided into those that will worsen metabolic health, and those that will improve it.

Nutrition factors that can worsen metabolic health


All types of added sugar, with excessive fructose being particularly problematic.

Sugary drinks

This includes drinks with added sugar and sweet fruit juices.

Ultra-processed food

These are typically boxed and packeted foods that have multiple ingredients.

Refined carbohydrate

Starchy processed foods that are rapidly digested.

Excessive fat

A large intake of fat creates short term insulin resistance.

Regular snacking

Eating frequently between main meals.

Nutrition factors that can improve metabolic health

'Real food'

This is food that typically has minimal ingredients, or is simply a single food. Real food has not been heavily processed in a factory.

Adequate protein

The body needs a minimum amount of protein. Eating protein reduces hunger.

Time restricted eating / Intermittent-fasting

Eating within a shorter window of time in the day.

Personalise carbohydrate

For people with insulin resistance it is often important to reduce the total amount of carbohydrate that is eaten.

Adequate hydration

Ensuring adequate water intake over a day.


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