An integrative approach to dietary balance across the life course

David Raubenheimer, Alistair M. Senior, Christen Mirth, Zhenwei Cui, Rong Hou, David G. Le Couteur, Samantha M. Solon-Biet, Pierre Léopold, Stephen J. Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Animals require specific blends of nutrients that vary across the life course and with circumstances, e.g., health and activity levels. Underpinning and complicating these requirements is that individual traits may be optimized on different dietary compositions leading to nutrition-mediated trade-offs among outcomes. Additionally, the food environment may constrain which nutrient mixtures are achievable. Natural selection has equipped animals for solving such multi-dimensional, dynamic challenges of nutrition, but little is understood about the details and their theoretical and practical implications. We present an integrative framework, nutritional geometry, which models complex nutritional interactions in the context of multiple nutrients and across levels of biological organization (e.g., cellular, individual, and population) and levels of analysis (e.g., mechanistic, developmental, ecological, and evolutionary). The framework is generalizable across different situations and taxa. We illustrate this using examples spanning insects to primates and settings (laboratory, and the wild), and demonstrate its relevance for human health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104315
Number of pages19
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2022


  • biological sciences
  • Endocrinology
  • evolutionary biology
  • physiology

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