The Ideal Diet for Business Travellers
As every hard-charging road warrior knows, energy is the fuel of business travel.
How should business travellers fuel themselves to sustain reliable energy, avoid burnout, and build vitality?
Just as the aviation industry is taking a serious look at sustainable fuels, it's time business travellers ask and find answers to the same question. Sustainable energy that builds vitality while on travel is a missing piece in the business traveller wellness conversation, here is a suggestion on how to remedy this.
It comes down to diet, fuel choice, and what we can learn from the scientific literature published and reviewed with rigour.
The three macronutrient types under consideration are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The caloric breakdown of these nutrients is as follows -
Carbohydrates - 4 calories per gram
Proteins - 4 calories per gram
Fats - 9 calories per gram
Source - Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC) (1)
What's Right for You?
While there is much hype and anecdotal evidence about the usefulness of a variety of diets, the evidence is clear. The correct fuel mix for you is more important than doggedly following any specific type of diet. However, my suggestion is that a ketogenic leaning diet offers benefits suited to the outcome sought by business travellers. As we have different metabolisms, approaches to finding out what fuel mix is right for us can range from:
Trying different macro ratios and observing your energy and performance
Trying different macro ratios and measuring with a tool like Lumen or a continuous glucose monitor (CGM)
Eliminating foods based on allergen tests
How you feel and perform should be your guide going forward. In my experience doing 4 Atlantic Ocean crossings in the space of six days, highlighted a difference in my ability to concentrate and focus to be more productive while travelling on a mix of different fuels.
On a carbohydrate laden diet from LHR -YTZ -LHR I felt sluggish. On a back to back trip ie the same LHR - YTZ - LHR 4 days later on a protein laden diet I felt more awake and vital.
It is never a one size fits all scenario, at the same time we cannot disregard the usefulness of other nutrients in favour of any single one. They all play their roles in keeping us healthy. Therefore the ability to maintain a degree of metabolic flexibility is important (2).
Experiment and find your sweet spot, you may find a significant difference in how you feel and function.
Energy is the fuel of business travel
Optimal nutrient selection matters
A keto leaning diet has benefits
Experiment and build metabolic flexibility into your choices
Metabolic Flexibility as an Adaptation to Energy Resources and Requirements in Health and Disease - doi: 10.1210/er.2017-00211