Nutrition expert and personal training consultant, Simon Hall, has ten years’ experience in the health and fitness sector, specialising in health and body transformation via a unique multi-disciplinary approach. Prior to setting up a global consultancy, Body Composition, Simon travelled the world researching and working with some of the most influential leaders in the industry.
It’s all about the gut…
To what extent do you think nutrition has an impact on disease prevention?
Hugely – we work with people all over the world who have had issues with thyroid health, diabetes, IBD etc. It’s amazing really to look at disease in fine detail as it can always be linked back to a deficiency. Recently I have been looking into the gut and microbiology’s effect on human health, and there is a pretty strong correlation between problems with the gut and disease.
To what degree do you think food affects mental health?
Ok so this is a fun one… Nutrition has a large impact on our emotional, hormonal, mental states, the way we feel and I guess you can say the way we view ourselves. It’s amazing to hear about people who start to eat right that the first things they feel is mental clarity and improved energy.
With deeper mental issues, I believe it’s very important to look further down the rabbit hole. There is a huge correlation between the gut and mental health.
What are your views on current trends like gluten free foods?
Gluten free produce certainly has a place for people with certain intolerance’s. However, given the current trend for gluten free products, e.g. gluten free cakes and gluten free brownies it’s important to remember that they’re not necessarily healthy.
What do you think the greatest challenges are for global nutrition?
In my opinion the biggest challenge is in the education of nutrition. Speaking to people around the world, you realise that they don’t know what the right foods are, what it is that they should be eating and the impact of a bad diet. If we were able to address the issue from a younger age, we could have a really positive impact throughout the world.
What advice do you give to people when working with them on their diet?
Humans are habitual, so you have to lo0k at their current habits and start rebuilding. If you approach things habitually with say a different focus each week, such as; getting your optimal water intake, changing your breakfast, eating more vegetables – then slowly but steadily you can start building a healthier lifestyle.
What does the average person need when it comes to diet?
It’s all about balance and eating nutritionally dense foods, but you have to be able to go out and enjoy yourself and not become a social recluse!
There has been a lot in the press recently about sugary foods, what’s your take?
We are always looking for something to blame. A good tip with anything is to remember that the devil is in the dosage; we can demonise fat, we can demonise sugar. It’s when we eat too much that the issues occur.
Is there actually any nutritional value in fast food?
Fast food pretty much has all the nourishment, enzymes etc. taken out of it and it gets filled with preservatives. Have you ever seen the pictures on the internet of the fast food burgers that have been left on people desks for years and they still look the same two years on from the day they were bought?
Is it worth buying organic food?
It’s all about preference and financially what can be afforded. Organic food is definitely worth considering. There is a great article called the ‘Dirty Dozen’ about the 12 foods that are most treated with pesticides. Organic food arguably has more nutrients, it’s grown in better soil, it’s looked after and you are not consuming as many chemicals.
Can the amount of fluoride in tap water be dangerous and in an ideal world would you advocate bottled water?
Bottled water does tend to have a much higher mineral count in it so I would always buy decent bottled water for that reason. Fluoride is in the water yes and has been shown to have issues, with this again I guess it falls back to “the devil is in the dosage”.
By Rachel McClelland