The goal of advanced nutrition may be stated as using special diets and supplements to increase longevity, improve overall health, decrease risk of disease, and achieve specific health benefits. Basic nutrition principles to improve health include increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables; limiting consumption of processed, high fat, and high sugar foods; consuming cuts of meat that tend to be low in saturated fat; and choosing whole grains over processed grains. While it is generally accepted that these diets usually will improve health, many people incorporate more stringent nutritional principles into a diet. Some of these advanced nutrition principles include supplementation, organic diets, vegetarian or vegan diets, and caloric restriction.
There are three macronutrients and dozens of micronutrients that the human body needs to sustain life. There are other vitamins, minerals, organic acids, and fats available in supplement form that the body does not require to carry out life sustaining, but are believed to improve health in other ways. For instance, scientific studies have shown fish oil supplementation to be beneficial in preventing heart disease, reducing inflammation, and decreasing symptoms of depression due to the Omega-3 fatty acids.
Many advanced nutrition proponents adopt special diets to ensure health and increase quality of life. Vegetarian diets exclude all meat. Vegan diets exclude all meat and animal products such as meat, eggs, and dairy. Vegetarians and vegans restrict meat and animal product consumption because they believe eating meat makes us less healthy.
Proponents of organic diets are convinced that pesticides used in growing food are harmful to human health and possibly cause disease and mental impairments, especially when consumed by infants and children. To address this concern, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has established labeling guidelines that U.S. food growers and producers must abide by to bear the label Certified Organic. Other countries have similar guidelines in place. Proponents of organic diets believe that not only is organic food free of pesticides, but it may contain more nutrients than conventionally grown food.
Some believe that it is not only what types of foods we eat, but how much that matters. Studies have shown that an advanced nutrition diet incorporating caloric restriction increases longevity in many species, including yeasts, worms, spiders, rodents, and dogs, provided nutritional quality of the diet is maintained. Long-term studies are under way to establish whether caloric restriction works for humans. Yet many practitioners have adopted a caloric restriction diet into their lifestyles relying on the results of earlier studies with other species. According to research results, restricting caloric intake 30 percent lower than what would naturally be consumed lower risk of age-related disease and increases longevity.