Latency Period For Nutritional Changes

whey proteinIncreasingly individuals are realising the importance of good nutrition. Good nutrition not only improves physical performance, but also mental capacity and cognitive processes. Part of the reasons for the awakening with regard good nutrition is the large body of readily available information that is present on the internet. This information allows people to research the topic of nutrition and thereby become their own nutritionists. One questions that is often asked from those who make dietary changes regards the length of time it may take for improvements to be seen. This is a difficult question to answer because the number of variables involved is high. However, it is an interesting question and worthy of consideration. A good place to start with such a question is the nutrition of iron deficiency. Those who develop iron deficient states can be given high iron diets and iron supplements. Yet despite these changes, correcting an iron deficiency can take up to two years. This highlights the slow changes that should be expected.

One of the first considerations that can determine the length of latency period to health improvements can be the initial state of health. Generally those who start from a lower baseline with regard their health will see the most rapid changes. Many studies show that the unhealthiest individuals see significant improvements in health with relatively simple changes such as incorporation of tinned beans into their diets. Radically changing the diet of unhealthy individuals can therefore manifest rapid improvements to health and these can be seen within a few weeks. Those with already good health will likely see much smaller changes, and these changes may take a much longer time period to manifest as physically measurable improvements. However, because the changes are smaller, does not mean they are less important. Often the smaller more subtle improvements that allow the obtaining of optimal health can be the most fulfilling and worthwhile. This is especially true for cognitive changes.


Dietary changes can take a considerable length of time to cause physiological changes. In some cases these changes may takes years. In some cases the changes may take a few weeks. This depends largely on the initial state of health of the individual, as well as the initial quality of the diet. Most people will not see considerable improvements in health before 6 months to 1 year of eating high quality foods. Although most changes are continuous, it takes a while for the magnitude of the improvements to be noticed.

Another important variable with regard the rate of improvement from dietary changes is the quality of the baseline diet. Although this relates closely to the state of the health of the individual, the two are in reality distinct variables. Those with already reasonable diets, who likely will have the best health, will see slower improvements that those with poorer quality diets. Again, this does not mean that such improvements are not worth the effort, and often the move from general good health to optimal health can be just as rewarding as the move from ill health to good health. As a rule of thumb, 6 months to 1 year should be allowed for significant improvements in physiological function to manifest after commencing improvements in diet, if the baseline diet is a typical Western diet and the individual is in reasonable health. One last point is that often those consuming a typical Western diet consider themselves healthy because they have no obvious disease, but in reality they are far from optimal health.

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself


Robert Barrington

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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