Nutritics has added extra features free of charge to support you working from home during COVID-19 - find out more.

Nutritics Blog

< back

Nutritics Case Study: Glanbia

“While I was able to make suggestions based on my athlete’s training needs and physical requirements, it was only through using Nutritics that we were able to dive deeper and uncover the real issues."
5th Oct 2020
Athletes that do not track their food intake, are often fighting an uphill battle against an invisible foe. That is the message that became abundantly clear as we discussed how Nutritics was helping Dr. Tobin’s athletes to better understand their nutritional needs. 

Dr. Crionna Tobin is the Head of Education and Nutrition, EMEA at Glanbia Performance Nutrition. Dr. Tobin holds a Bachelor of Science, specialising in Biochemistry, a HDip in Nutrition and a PhD in Sports Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. Glanbia Performance Nutrition is one of the world’s leading sports nutrition providers. GPN is the name behind the sports nutrition industry’s most popular brands, including Optimum Nutrition, BSN, Slimfast, ISOPURE, NUTRAMINO, American Body Building (ABB) and Body&Fit. Glanbia Performance Nutrition’s products are sold in over 100 countries and its brands are in the top three performance nutrition brands in more than 20 countries. In her role at Glanbia Dr. Tobin develops education initiatives both internally and externally that are tailored towards a variety of audiences to empower them in the area of nutrition and sports nutrition. 

Dr. Crionna Tobin also acts as a consultant performance nutritionist with clients and athletes. As a high performance nutritionist, Dr. Crionna Tobin works with elite athletes and sporting bodies which has included The Irish Institute of Sport, Tennis Ireland, Triathlon Ireland, as well as Dublin, Galway and Meath GAA teams at all levels and codes. 

Background 

Nowadays there is an ever-growing number of mediums by which experts, trainers and fitness professionals can share nutritional advice and findings with a large audience. On one hand, this is a positive development as more information is available than ever before. On the other, it means that inaccurate or misleading information is more widespread. 

Dr. Tobin expanded on this point. “Fundamentally my role is to educate people about nutrition, whether that’s educating people about sports nutrition,on the product development side, or working directly with athletes. Nowadays, there’s a growing interest in nutrition and health which is wonderful to see. However, there’s a great deal of misinformation and inaccuracies, especially in the media, about what is and isn’t good for us.” 

In nutrition and exercise, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. One person might be eating and training to lose weight, another might be trying to build power and speed. In each case a different approach is needed. Blanket statements about nutrition, classifying certain food types as good and others as bad, can lead to adverse results. 

“There’s a definite challenge around educating people when it comes to the overall caloric value of certain foods. Some of the athletes I work with can’t understand why they’re carrying extra weight, when they’re “eating healthily”. The truth is that some foods which we think of as being “good for us”, are also highly calorific. Nuts and nut butters provide healthy fats your body needs. However, fats are also much more calorie dense than other foods.Sometimes, to achieve great results, the best method is to go back to basics. Re-establishing a firm grasp of how food works will help athletes to properly fuel their training and provide their bodies with the nutrients needed to stay healthy.” 

For athletes, there are dangers in simply trying to “eat healthy” and hope for the best. Often, what is considered healthy is not what is going to help an athlete to train and perform optimally. For Dr. Tobin, what is much more reliable is tracking and identifying what combination of foods work for a particular athlete, at certain times in their season and adjusting accordingly. And that is where Nutritics comes in. 

Solution 

Through her work, Dr. Crionna Tobin works with a number of different sports teams and athletes, focusing on an array of athletic disciplines. Dr. Tobin highlighted the immensely different approaches she takes with her athletes. She also explains how Nutritics allowed one of her triathletes to open their eyes to what she was really consuming and become a leaner, fitter athlete in the process. 

“One of the biggest challenges for my athletes is finding the right balance when it comes to macronutrients. That is, what mix of carbohydrates, fats and protein that they should aim to consume daily. A lot of the endurance athletes who work with me are cautious about the amount of carbs they consume, often restricting them to very low levels, when in fact, carbs are essential for those that need fast and immediate bursts of energy and power. 

"This is especially important in sports such as track and field, where speed is crucial. In these cases, finding the right macronutrient balance is often all about timing. Carbs before training will ensure that athletes have available stores of energy and carbs after will refuel the muscle. On the other hand, we work with a number of rugby teams where getting enough protein is key. Although carbs are also important, these athletes don’t need as much as endurance athletes. These are big athletes that are working very hard. Most of these players have huge nutritional requirements given their size, especially when you consider their workloads. These athletes need protein to recover. The faster and more efficient the player can recover, the more likely they can maintain a high level of training intensity in subsequent sessions."

In both of the above cases, having accurate nutritional information and tracking athletes daily intake is all important. Nutritics helps both Dr. Tobin and her athletes to monitor food intake and make changes accordingly. For a track and field athlete, these tweaks could be the difference between shaving all important seconds or milliseconds off their times. For a rugby player, keeping on top of nutritional needs not only helps them to perform better but can also elongate their careers. For some athletes, Nutritics helps athletes to see what they are really consuming, as Dr. Tobin explains. 

“I was working with a female triathlete who was carrying more weight than she needed. Despite training hard and following what she thought was a healthy diet, she couldn’t shed the extra weight. When we worked through her daily food plans with Nutritics, the real issue became clear. By examining her food diary, we were able to see the real values behind her “healthy choices”. We found that a huge portion of her diet was made of very fatty foods. This meant she was consuming a lot more calories than she realised.” 

Results 

“The visualisation component of the Nutritics app allows my athletes to get a very clear picture of what they need to adjust. This is a very effective way for them to understand the nutritional composition of their diet. It’s one thing saying it but seeing it is another thing altogether. 

“While I was able to make suggestions based on my athlete’s training needs and physical requirements, it was only through using Nutritics that we were able to dive deeper and uncover the real issues. By meticulously tracking food intake over time, we could see that this athlete’s input far exceeded the output. In other words, she was taking in more calories than she was burning. 

"Working with Nutritics, over a period of three months, this athlete’s weight went from 60kg to 52kg. We focused on reducing fat intake , and increasing protein. The loss was primarily body fat, with only a 5% loss of lean muscle mass. This helps to preserve lean muscle mass and increase her satiety. Overall her performance improved significantly. She took 6:30 minutes off her overall time. This was broken down as; 30 seconds off the swim, 5 minutes off the bike and 1 minute from her run. Across all those distances, she was carrying 8kg less, which makes a huge difference. 

"As a nutritionist, one of the daily challenges I face is helping my athletes to wade through the sea of misinformation and inaccuracies. Nutritics, as it is based on accurate information, presented in a clear, concise manner, provides the ultimate proof for my athletes.” 


Nutritics meets all needs for high level nutrient analysis, activity tracking and meal planning. Easy to use, cloud-based, and offering the most comprehensive set of food reference databases available, Nutritics is developed by dietitians, technologists and regulatory experts, specifically for use within the sports and healthcare sector. Sign up for your free trial to gain your competitive edge today!