I recently watched Google’s ‘home movie’ Trillions of Questions, No Easy Answers.
It’s the fascinating story of how Google has continued to develop and refine their search algorithm over the past 20 years.
Google has continually refined and improved it to give you the best answers possible, personalised to your location and interests.
A large team of highly skilled experts at Google continue to develop their search algorithm and build their Knowledge Graph. They have now compiled and organised 18 billion facts on 750 million entities. The more data they gather, the more precise and better their search results can be.
The power of multi-criteria analysis
While Google Search looks simple, what is going on under the hood is incredibly complex.
Google Search is a multi-criteria analysis comprised of more than 200 separate algorithms that are dynamically re-weighted based on your location and what is going on in the world right now.
For example, if you searched ‘mask’ 18 months ago, you might have received results about where you could buy something for a fancy-dress party. But now, you will be directed to the World Health Organization, Centres for Disease Control and other authoritative websites.
The weightings in Google’s multi-criteria analysis are continually fine-tuned using validation with real people (i.e. Quality Raters) to ensure that you receive the best results possible based on their criteria of Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.
Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness
In their ‘home video’, Google explains why they have shifted towards focusing on Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness over the past few years rather than just links and keywords. A few years back, it was bought to their attention that, when people entered queries like ‘did the holocaust happen’, Google would serve up results from holocaust deniers who were writing on the subject.
Unfortunately, there is a similar battle with disinformation for your hearts and minds regarding nutrition and the food you eat. Often, the people who are writing about nutrition and want to tell you what to eat are rarely interested in optimising your health.
The food market is an $8 trillion per year industry! There is plenty of motivation to make you think that a particular food is good for you, even though it does not contain what your body needs.
More often than not, the food marketed to us is a combination of the cheapest ingredients available (industrial seed oils, flours and sugars) dressed up (with colourings and flavourings) to make it look and taste like something that will be good for us. But it’s not.
Processed food manufacturers and the people paid to disseminate their marketing message are like the websites that use keyword stuffing and link spam to game the algorithm. Over time, Google has become better and better at refining its ranking criteria to filter out this junk and provide the search results that people need.
Engineered and manufactured foods try to game the system of nutritional advertising with bright shiny labels and audacious claims about the nutrients they contain. However, the reality is that they only contain a handful of select synthetic nutrients in an attempt to compensate for the fact that they are devoid nutrients.
While plenty of research indicates that whole foods that naturally contain nutrients in a synergistic food matrix improve our health and satiety, there is little research that isolated supplements and food fortification help us. Isolated synthetic nutrients are no match for nutrient-dense whole foods grown in a diverse and robust ecosystem. Our multi criteria Nutritional Optimisation algorithm has been designed to allow Optimisers to cut through the noise to identify foods and meals containing adequate amounts of ALL the essential nutrients in the form and ratios that your body knows what to do with.
What are the best foods and meal choices for you?
When everything these days is optimised using Artificial Intelligence and big data, why shouldn’t you be able to optimise the nutrients in your food? Why shouldn’t you be able to use the same approach to the foods and meals we choose to eat?
Isn’t the food you eat even more critical than your search results, YouTube/NetFlix recommendations, or your social media feed, which are all curated with artificial intelligence.
There are unlimited recipe options to choose from, but what you need to know is – what are the best choices for you right now?
Historically, nutritional recommendations have been based on culture, location, climate and religious preferences. But over the past 50 years, there has been a move to marketing engineered foods as good for you and good for the planet.
But, the reality is, the foods that have come to dominate our food system are just the cheapest products of large-scale agriculture. The latest incarnation of this is the Plant-Based Diet.
We don’t care if you eat more animals or more plants – you can create a fairly nutritious diet at either extreme. However, what passes for ‘plant based’ most of the time is a combination of the most nutrient-poor foods available (shown in the bottom left of this chart of nutrient density vs satiety).
Not only will these foods leave you feeling unsatisfied and craving more of these less than optimal foods, but they are also the highest profit margin foods fueled with synthetic fertilisers using a system quickly making our planet uninhabitable.
How to solve the nutrition puzzle
Over the past five years, we worked tirelessly to build the best algorithm to identify the best foods and meals for you. Unfortunately, this is a little more complex than sticking to a specific named diet (e.g. plant-based, keto, carnivore, paleo, etc.) or a nutrition belief system. There is no one size fits all nutrition solution. The results are always better when tailored to your individual needs and goals.
Over the past three years, we have not only analysed half a million days of data from MyFitnessPal users to understand the relationship between macros and how much we tend to eat, we now have one hundred thousand days of maconutrient and micronutrient data to gain a much deeper understanding of how every individual choice affects our hunger and satiety and which ones we need to prioritise to get the effect we want.
Our ranking factors
Similar to Google, our multi-criteria analysis algorithm uses specific ranking factors. The three main factors that we use to identify optimal food and meal choices for you are:
- Nutrient density – to ensure you get the nutrients you need from the food you eat,
- Satiety – to ensure that the food you eat makes you feel full and satisfied rather than craving more than you need, and
- Insulin load – to help you stabilise your blood sugars to healthy non-diabetic levels.
Context and goals
Your food choices need to consider who you are. Just because a particular celebrity or athlete eats a certain way doesn’t mean that food will make you an athlete. Nutritional Optimisation considers if you are:
- overweight and need to lose body fat,
- diabetic and need to stabilise your blood sugars,
- underweight or need to grow bigger,
- active and need lots of fuel, or
- suffering from a particular condition that would benefit from more of a specific array of nutrients.
We also acknowledge that some people have particular preferences for ethical or religious reasons, or they know they don’t respond well to certain foods right now.
Resources to optimise your food and meal choices
We want Optimising Nutrition to be the default option for people who want to optimise their health and want to know WHAT to eat to move from where they are now to where they want to be in the future.
To enable you to do this, we have created several options to help you find the foods and meals best suited to your unique context and goals.
While most people will do well if they focus on nutrient-dense foods tailored to their goal and preferences, if we have more data (e.g. your current food logs), we can provide even more precise recommendations.
Free food lists
We have created a wide range of nutrient-dense food lists tailored for different goals that you can access here.
This is the most straightforward place to start. Rather than thinking in terms of bad foods to avoid, it’s often best to incorporate more foods to nourish your body with what it needs. These more optimal options quickly crowd out the less optimal choices.
These food lists are organised into groups (e.g. plans, animal-based, seafood). The foods at the top of each list are ranked the highest for each goal based on nutrient density, satiety and insulin load. We recommend you work through these food lists and find foods you want to incorporate into your daily routine. You will find some you like and others you don’t.
NutriBooster Recipe books
After publishing hundreds of articles about nutrient density, satiety, and optimising blood sugar and insulin levels, we realised that if Nutritional Optimisation was going to become a movement, we needed to make it as easy as possible for YOU to implement in your kitchen. So we created a suite of NutriBooster Recipes.
The essential collection
The table below lists our most popular recipe books tailored for a range of goals, from aggressive fat loss to bulking, diabetes management, and everything in between.
- The ‘metrics’ column details the blood sugar and waist: height ratio (W: H) that aligns with each goal.
- Overfat people (with a waist: height ratio of greater than 0.5) need NutriBoosters that provide greater satiety to empower them to eat less without excessive hunger.
- People with a blood glucose rise of more than 30 mg/dL or 1.6 mmol/L an hour or two after eating require meals with a lower insulin load to assist them in stabilising blood sugars, normalising appetite, and avoiding blood sugar crashes.
- Click on the title in the left-hand column to access more details for that specific book.
- Click on the ‘DRI’ and ‘ONI’ in the right-hand column to see the nutrient fingerprint of that recipe book (i.e., micronutrients and macronutrients) in terms of the Dietary Reference Intake and our Optimal Nutrient Intakes.
|Fat loss||Fat loss with greater satiety and less hunger and cravings due to nutrient deficiencies and adequate protein to prevent muscle loss||W:H > 0.5||DRI||ONI|
|Maximum nutrient density||Maximum nutrients per calorie||NA||DRI||ONI|
|High protein: energy||High protein:energy ratio for aggressive fat loss||W:H > 0.5||DRI||ONI|
|Blood sugar & fat loss||Designed for anyone with elevated blood sugars and excess body fat||W:H > 0.5 BG rise after meals > 30 mg/dL or 1.6 mmol/L||DRI||ONI|
|Low carb & blood sugar||Designed for stable blood sugars and weight maintenance on a nutritious low-carb diet. Ideal for someone with diabetes or anyone who enjoys a low-carb way of eating||W:H < 0.5 BG rise after meals > 30 mg/dL or 1.6 mmol/L||DRI||ONI|
|Maintenance||Designed to help you maintain your body weight and provide plenty of nutrients to live a healthy and energised life||W:H < 0.5||DRI||ONI|
|Bodybuilders||Gain muscle without excess body fat||W:H < 0.5||DRI||ONI|
|Athletes & bulking||Designed to support activity or growth with an eye on nutrient density||W:H < 0.5||DRI||ONI|
The Other Books
The table below lists the remaining books tailored for different preferences and goals. We have worked hard to create the best version of these dietary approaches based on science, preferences, and particular conditions. Each suite of recipes is optimised for nutrient density as much as possible while still aligning with each goal.
|Nutritional keto||Ideal for someone who enjoys a ketogenic way of eating but does not require therapeutic ketone levels||DRI||ONI|
|Therapeutic keto||Designed for people who require therapeutic ketone levels (e.g., epilepsy, dementia, or Parkinson’s)||DRI||ONI|
|Plant-based||These are the most nutrient-dense plant-based recipes available.||DRI||ONI|
|Vegetarian||These are the most nutrient-dense vegetarian meals.||DRI||ONI|
|Low carb vegetarian||Nutrient-dense low-carb vegetarian meals to help stabilise blood sugars||DRI||ONI|
|Pescatarian||These are the most nutrient-dense pescatarian recipes (i.e., vegetarian plus seafood)||DRI||ONI|
|Egg-free||The most nutrient-dense egg-free meals||DRI||ONI|
|Dairy-free||The most nutrient-dense dairy-free meals||DRI||ONI|
|Egg & dairy-free||The most nutrient-dense meals without eggs or dairy||DRI||ONI|
|Meat||These are the most nutrient-dense meals that contain meat (i.e., beef, pork, chicken, etc., without seafood).||DRI||ONI|
|Immunity||These recipes prioritise the nutrients that support healthy immune function (i.e., vitamins A, C, and D, iron, selenium, zinc, and potassium).||DRI||ONI|
|Cancer (weight loss & nutrient density)||Designed for someone with cancer (i.e., less glutamic acid and methionine) while maximising nutrient density and satiety to promote fat loss||DRI||ONI|
|Cancer (weight maintenance)||Designed for someone with cancer (i.e., less glutamic acid and methionine) while providing enough energy to maintain a healthy weight||DRI||ONI|
|Cancer (weight gain)||Designed for someone with cancer (i.e., less glutamic acid and methionine) while providing plenty of energy to support weight gain after cancer treatment||DRI||ONI|
NutriBoosters Recipe Group
We have been working hard to grow a Nutritional Optimisation Movement comprised of people passionate about the quality of their food and giving their body what it needs to thrive. The NutriBooster Recipes Facebook Group has more than seven thousand people participating in the journey.
We love sharing NutriBoosters from the books and those created by members every day. We’d love you to join us to get a preview of the recipes and learn more about how and why we went to all the effort to create this unique series of books!
Free 7 Day Food Discovery Challenge
To help you understand what foods and meals you need to focus on, we created a Free 7-Day Food Discovery Challenge. Each day you will receive emails that guide you through tracking your food in Cronometer and then connecting with Nutrient Optimiser.
Nutrient Optimiser will then calculate your micronutrient fingerprint (see example below) and identify which foods and meals you need to focus on to get more of the nutrients you are currently getting less of.
Nutritional Optimisation Masterclass
Finally, we have the 6-Week Nutritional Optimisation Masterclass, which uses Nutrient Optimiser to guide you through dialling in your macronutrients and micronutrients over six weeks in a supportive group environment.
The goal of the masterclass is to give you the knowledge and support to find the foods and meals you enjoy and enable you to continue to move towards your goal through the six weeks and beyond.
- In week 1, optimisers will establish their baseline to understand their macro and micronutrient intake.
- In week 2, optimisers will ensure they are getting adequate protein (which aligns closely with satiety and nutrient density).
- In week 3, optimisers will find their carbohydrate tolerance using their blood sugars as a guide.
- In week 4, optimisers will dial in their fat intake to ensure they move towards their goals.
- In week 5, optimisers will begin to focus on refining their food choices to ensure they achieve the minimum nutrient intake levels to prevent diseases of deficiency.
- In week 6, optimisers level up to move towards the optimal nutrient intakes to ensure they were getting all the essential nutrients they required without excess calories.
Optimisers will get full access to the Nutrient Optimiser with 400+ recipes to empower you to short cut your journey towards Nutritional Optimisation, a support community with daily lessons to guide you through the process and weekly Live Q&As.
We always find that people make better progress when they take the journey together in a supportive community.
If you’re interested in joining us, our next 6-Week Nutritional Optimisation Masterclass starts 22 May 2021.
We wish you the best of luck on your journey towards Nutritional Optimisation!