Nutrients & metrics
Meaning of "watchlist"
Things to watch carefully, either because they are harmful (like alcohol) or because they are particularly important for your goals.
Scores & metrics
This measures the overall nutritional completeness & diversity of your diet. More weight is given to the Watchlist and Essential nutrients (essential fats, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids), and less weight is given to the Variety Markers. A “Good” score indicates that you are hitting the target zone on all (or nearly all) of your Calories & Macros, Watchlist, and Essential nutrients — and hitting a good number of Beneficial nutrients. An “Excellent” score means you are also hitting all (or nearly all) of your Beneficial nutrients, as well as some Variety Markers.
This measures the overall impact of your diet on three drivers of climate change: greenhouse gas emissions (measured in carbon dioxide equivalents), fresh water usage during food production, and tropical rainforest destruction. The best possible score is 100%. An “Excellent” score means that your diet’s climate footprint is as small as it can reasonably be. Anything less than “Good” means your dietary choices are contributing to the problem of climate change. Out of the three metrics of climate impact we track, your carbon footprint is given the most weight (60% of the total), followed by tropical rainforest destruction (30% of the total) and scarce water usage (10% of the total).
Note: We don’t currently track the climate impact of your food’s packaging, or the impact of your seafood choices on marine biodiversity. Think we should add these? Let us know: www.fuelbetter.co/talk-to-us
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, this score indicates how well you are hitting your overall nutrition targets. Extra weight is given to those nutrients which are even more important to get right during this time — for you and your baby.
The quality and diversity of your intestinal microbiome — the buzzing metropolis of trillions of bacteria living in your small and large intestines — is pivotal to your overall health. It’s also pivotal to helping you achieve your diet-related goals, such as weight loss, improved immune system function, reduced cancer risk, or type 2 diabetes reversal. Support your microbiome by feeding good intestinal microbes the food they love: a wide diversity of plant fibers, lignins and resistant starches, and a wide diversity of the beneficial compounds found in plants, including flavonoids, carotenoids, curcuminoids, stilbenoids, hydroxycinnamic acids, glucosinolates, and more.
This measures to what extent your diet supports the healthy functioning of your immune system. Your immune system relies directly or indirectly on all of the Essential nutrients, and benefits directly or indirectly from most of the Beneficial nutrients. This means that your immune support score is highly correlated with your overall nutrition score. However, several nutrients play particularly central roles in your immune system, and these are given extra weight and highlighted here. Aim for at least a “Good” score.
Note: your diet is just one factor that affects the functioning of your immune system. Your genes, the expression of your genes, your intestinal microbiome, and other aspects of your lifestyle — for example, your level of activity, sleep patterns, level of stress, and exposure to toxic substances such as smoke — also play important roles.
Exercise recovery support
The right nutrition is critical to speeding up exercise recovery and adaptation. Want to accelerate aerobic gains, stimulate muscle adaptation & muscle protein synthesis (MPS), and feel fully refreshed for the next workout? Aim for an “Excellent” score.
Calories & macronutrients
Calories & kilojoules
Calories and kilojoules both measure the same thing: the energy-value of the macronutrients in your food (proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and alcohol). The word "calories" in everyday language is what scientists call kilocalories (abbreviated "kcal"), so "kcal" and "calories" mean the same thing. One calorie or kcal is equal to 4.184 kilojoules.
If one of your goals is losing, maintaining, or gaining weight (whether in the form of fat or muscle), then calories will be a big focus. This is because the most important factor in hitting your goal weight will be sustaining a calorie deficit (if your goal is to lose weight), a calorie balance (if your goal is to maintain weight), or calorie surplus (if your goal is to gain weight).
calorie deficit" is where your body is absorbing fewer calories than it is burning. When this happens, your body starts burning its fat reserves (and, to a lesser extent, its carbohydrate reserves) to supply the missing energy it needs.
More useful facts:
One gram of protein (or one gram of amino acids, the building blocks of protein) is equal to about 4 kcal.
One gram of lipids or fat (or fatty acids, the building blocks of the fats we consume in our diets) is equal to about 9 kcal.
One gram of alcohol (technically, ethanol alcohol - the type of alcohol we consume in drinks) is equal to about 7 kcal.
One gram of carbohydrates - well, that's tricky because carbohydrates come in two basic types:
(1) "Net carbohydrates" or "available carbohydrates" are carbohydrates digestible in your small intestine. One gram of these net carbs has an energy value of about 4 kcal. (See entry for "Net carbohydrates".)
(2) Carbohydrates not digestible - or not fully digested - in your small intestine. These include "Fiber", resistant starches, lignins, sugar alcohols, organic acids (such as citric and malic acids), and other organic molecules that are not, or not fully, digested in the small intestine and make their way to the large intestine (the colon) to feed the microbial community there. Each member of this category of carbohydrates has a different energy value, but the average energy value is around 2 kcal per gram.
Protein is a macronutrient found in differing levels in most foods, from abalone to zucchini. But the most concentrated sources of dietary protein are: meats (including fish, shellfish, beef, pork, lamb); beans, and bean products like tofu and tempeh; concentrated dairy protein powders and preparations, including sieved non-fat yogurt and cottage cheese, casein concentrate, and whey concentrate; and concentrated plant protein powders and preparations, most commonly from soybeans, yellow peas, fava (faba) beans, hemp seeds, rice, and wheat.
Proteins are the building blocks of your body. Although commonly associated with muscle tisse, in fact protein is part of the structure and function of every cell in your body, including your skin, internal organs, nerves, blood vessels, and bones. (Fun fact: your bones are 50% protein by volume!) Just as important, proteins are essential to your daily operation: enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, blood, immune cells, and everything else you've heard of - they are all proteins. Where do you get the raw materials to form these proteins? From your diet!
YOUR INDIVIDUAL PROTEIN REQUIREMENTS
Your minimum protein requirement is unique to you, based on your physiology (meaning: your height, age, weight, body fat percentage, lean body mass, and whether your are pregnant or breastfeeding), your body composition goals (that is, whether you want to lose, gain, or maintain body fat and lean mass), your hard training volume, and your athletic focus.
If you don't exercise much, are not pregnant or breastfeeding, and you'd like to just maintain your body weight and composition, then Fuelbetter sets your daily protein requirement at 1.5 grams per kg (0.68 grams per pound) of lean body mass. That means if your lean body mass is 44 kg (97 lbs) - for example, your body weight is 60 kg and your body fat percentage is 26.7% - then your daily protein requirement will be 66 grams.
If you are an athlete with a high training volume, are a strength/power athlete, are pregnant or breastfeeding, and/or have a goal of gaining muscle, your daily protein requirements will be higher. For example, if you are a powerlifting athlete in her third trimester of pregnancy with a goal of increasing muscle mass, Fuelbetter will set your daily protein requirement at 3.1 grams per kg (1.0 grams per pound) of lean body mass - plus 31 grams for meet the requirements for your baby's development during the third trimester. In this case, if your lean body mass is 44 kg (97 lbs) - for example, your body weight is 60 kg and your body fat percentage is 26.7% - then your daily protein requirement will be 167.5 grams (136.3 grams for you + 31.2 grams for your baby).
Top tip: If you're an athlete,
Auto-suggest calculates the optimal dose & timing of protein, creatine, BCAAs and other proteogenic amino acids for you. Plan the timing & duration of your workouts in advance, and Auto-suggest will recommend the optimal post-workout intakes. To optimize muscle synthesis & adaptation, Auto-suggest will spread your protein & amino acid intake into equal portions throughout the day, with a target portion size (or "dose") of ~0.30 - 0.45 g / kg of lean body mass.
YOUR INDIVIDUAL PROTEIN LIMIT
Scientists have investigated whether there may be a protein consumption level which is unsafe. They have not found one. The only limit is therefore driven by your requirement for other macronutrients and micronutrients: don't eat so much protein that you fail to reach your minimum targets for fiber, net carbohydrates, and essential fats. Since your goal for each of these other macronutrients is unique to you (based on your physiology, weight goal, athletic training volume, and athletic focus), your protein limit is also unique to you.
Water is an essential nutrient. Your body can't produce it, so you must get the amount that's right for you every day from food & drink.
If you live in a place an average ambient temperature of around 21C (70F), then your daily
resting requirement for water is approximately 0.60 grams per kg (0.27 grams per pound) of lean body mass. If you live in a hot climate without air-conditioning, your resting water requirements will be higher.
Activity & exercise will increase your water requirement due to sweat. When you record an activity, Fuelbetter calculates the water you lost through sweat, and adds this to your minimum water intake requirement for the day. Fuelbetter's sweat calculation assumes that you are exercising in an ambient temperature of around 21C (70F). If you're exercising in a hot environment, your water losses from sweat will be significantly higher.
Fuelbetter's main record for drinking water ("Water, USDA average") assumes that your supply of drinking water is
not fluoridated. In the US, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and Brazil, most but not all public water supplies are fluoridated -- meaning that the mineral nutrient flouride has been added to the public water supply to help ensure the general public meets its flouride nutrient targets.
TIP: check to see if your local water supply is fluoridated. If it is, then you should select Fuelbetter's flouridated water record to track your water intake ("Water (fluoridated), USDA average").
Meaning of "essential"
You need thousands of different molecules and compounds to stay alive and in good health. Incredibly, your body can produce almost all of these on its own - as long as it has enough raw materials. But there are a few substances that your body needs but can't produce on its own. You must get them from your diet. Health professionals and scientists call these substances "essential". They aren't optional. You need all of them from your diet in the amounts that are right for you. They are:
- Essential amino acids
- Essential fats
Meaning of "beneficial"
Not strictly essential to get from your diet, but these nutrients confer important health and/or performance benefits — for example, improved immune system function, improved appetite control, improved gut health, and more…
Variety marker nutrients
Meaning of "variety marker"
Beyond the essential and beneficial nutrients we track in the app, there are dozens — potentially hundreds — of additional substances in food that play important roles in human health & well-being. The best approach to getting the benefit of these unquantified nutrients is to have a highly varied diet. If you’re hitting all of your Essential and Beneficial nutrients on average over a 7-day period, your diet is already super-varied. Want even more variety? Try hitting these “variety marker” nutrients as well.