June 2020 | 665 words | 2-minute read
Rugby, football and golf are the sports that Edward Allen — the 30-year-old regulatory affairs and nutrition manager at Tata Consumer Products, Greenford, UK — remembers playing since childhood, with rugby being his favourite game.
“I played rugby for my school and football at the local level,” he says. His sporting endeavours continued well into his university days. In 2010, after getting a concussion for the third time while playing rugby, Edward decided to take a pause and focus on studies. His love for sports, however, did not wane; he soon took to running. “I started with running a few kilometres, and over time worked my way to be able to run 42km,” he states.
A disciplined routine has worked wonders in Edward’s fitness goals, while balancing work and not missing out on either. “Like with anything else, there are challenges; but I jot down what training I intend to complete every week on my blackboard at home.”
In the run up to the London marathon in 2018, he ensured that his training included “a combination of weight training, high intensity running for short spells and long endurance runs normally lasting three hours,” he says. In the build up to the half ironman race, scheduled at Woburn Abbey, UK in September 2020, he adds, “I go to the gym three times a week, swim twice a week, and cycle and run on weekends.”
Edward’s academic pursuits and, subsequently, his work life are also beautifully intertwined with his lifestyle choices. After completing his bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from the University of Hull, Edward became interested in the general biochemistry of energy pathways within the human body. This led him to pursue a master’s degree in Human Nutrition and Metabolism at Scotland’s University of Aberdeen, followed by a postgraduate diploma in Sports Nutrition from the International Olympic Committee. His insights into nutrition and experience in understanding regulatory requirements for food, beverages and food supplements have stood him in good stead in his current role at Tata Consumer Products, which he joined in April 2018.
Elaborating on his role, he says, “The regulatory affairs part has to do with government legislation and policy. I look at that in terms of food, law, labelling, food safety, etc, and understand how current legislation or new legislation might affect our business for the products that we sell across the UK and EU, the US, Canada and Australia. The nutrition part of my job role is understanding the impact of public health policy and how it affects our company’s products within the target markets.”
Nutrition fuels health
For Edward, nutrition goes beyond his field of study and work into his lifestyle choices. He looks at consumption in terms of a ‘food first’ approach, where it is important to ensure that you get all the nutrients your body requires to work efficiently; and ‘fuel for the work required’ approach, where body composition is a key factor in sports performance, with both under- and over-fuelling negatively affecting exercise performance and a person’s health.
In his personal life, he says, “I focus on staying hydrated, making sure I consume enough carbohydrates to fuel my muscles, enough protein to make sure I keep my muscle mass, and enough vitamins and minerals from fruits, vegetables and nuts.” He clarifies that he does not follow a diet specifically. “I generally stick to about 40 to 50% of my calories from carbohydrates, about 30% from proteins and the rest from fats. I refrain from consuming processed and energy dense foods, so I end up cooking from raw ingredients almost every night,” he adds.
Edward believes in learning and sharing his knowledge of nutrition. “I do some ‘learning lunches’ on nutrition related topics. Tata Consumer Products is a member of the British Nutrition Foundation, and they do a healthy eating week. Coinciding with it, at work, we had five themes for each day of the workweek to help colleagues understand the importance of nutrition and healthy lifestyle,” says Edward.