Nutrition Mini Self-Analysis
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Nutrient Intake & RDA
Overall, my nutrient intake does not meet the recommended dietary allowance for healthy people. During a minimum two out of three days; meat, beans, vegetables, and grains intake all fell below recommended consumption. In contrast to humans who intake nutrient amounts above the RDA, I may be developing health problems caused by nutrient deficiency. My nutrient stores are clearly declining, which is facilitating poor future health and deficiency symptoms. However, I am getting more than the RDA for nutrients like vitamin A, B12, C, and thiamin; all very important nutrients for which deprivation can cause both rapid and long term deficiency development. On the other hand, my daily milk and fruit intake met their respective RDA1.
My AMDR vs. RDA
As people, we generate our energy from foods which contain carbohydrates, protein, and fat. After applying the acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges of 55%, 15%, and 30%, respectively, my recommended food energy diet of 2578 kcal/day should break down as follows2:
- 1,417.9 kcal/day from carbohydrates
- 386.7 kcal/day from proteins
- 773.4 kcal/day from fat
When compared to RDA’s values for nutrients, energy recommendations are far from generous. Surplus energy is stored as body fat because it’s not readily disposed by the body. So, obesity and any associated health complications could result; even though these reserves are very important when availability of food is limited2. Regardless, this proper contribution of a healthy diet would provide the necessary energy and nutrients for my body and help battle against chronic diseases3.
Nutrient Dense Foods Consumed
Remember, the “more nutrients and the fewer kcalories, the higher the nutrient density4”. My 3 day diet did not consist of many high nutrient-dense foods. However, the foods I did consume which provided the most amount of nutrients for the lowest amount of energy included:
- Fruit (apples, 100% orange juice) – Provides vitamins, complex carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and other nutrients like iron and magnesium; naturally low in sodium and fat. To maintain my current weight, my diet recommends I intake at least 2 cups of fruit equivalent per day.
- Grains (cereals, whole grain breads) – Similar nutritional value as fruit. My average grain consumption nearly satisfied a recommended intake of 6.5 oz equivalent per day.
- Vegetables (blueberries) – Among others, a key source of potassium, folic acid, vitamins A, E, and C. Only consumption via blueberry bagel. My daily vegetable intake is far below the recommended 2 cup daily equivalent5.
Short & Long Term Implications of Current Diet67
One constant I’ve realized throughout this study is that I’m destroying my body. The lack of/overindulgence in food in selected areas has been supporting my body’s deterioration process, rather than preserve it for the long term.
As a young adult, I haven’t noticed nor expect any immediate signs of disease and illness due to my unhealthy diet. However, I can physically and mentally notice how my body reacts to what I consume each day. I refuse to knowingly contribute to my life’s possible end. I must learn to maintain a proper diet for a longer duration, facilitating healthier natural habits. This takes nothing but an inner willingness to help my body. I’m afraid that if I continue to unhealthily fluctuate my various nutrient and energy consumption, increased weakness, illness, and disease exist in my future.
Ups, Downs, & Exchange Lists8
To help adjust serving sizes, I pulled the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute9 as a valuable resource. However, the types of food I consumed did not prove too difficult for serving size calculations; especially considering my carefully logged records of food and beverage intake throughout the project.
I thoroughly enjoyed learning about (what should be) a priority to every individual person; health. This project has developed my detailed understanding regarding numerous factors that influence my individual health. I can now appropriately adjust and prepare my diet for extraordinary future benefits.
My only perceived “downside” would be a lack of user compatibility in mypyramidtracker.gov. It was odd to navigate and proved difficult modifying entry errors. In fact, I contacted a representative working for the service looking for help, and they advised that a site upgrade is in the near future. Regardless, the site did provide very valuable platform for generating and tracking personal health.
Future Diet Plan: Change
I have ceased all smoking abuse, and have never had a problem with over-indulging in alcohol. I have begun the pursuit of a vegetarian diet, selecting nutrient dense foods first for replenishment and healthy sources of energy. This alone will help me prevent disease and use of medications, as I am against the use of any supplements in my personal development. I would like to maintain a thin, lean look at around 160 pounds, so stabilizing daily physical activity is a must. I hope to do aerobic activity at least four times per week, while focusing on muscle development for at least three times per week. This will also allow me to reduce and work off any stress accumulated during physical activity down-time. Exercise is a major source for my personal stress relief, facilitating the control of any ensuing depression. My teeth have become a bit yellow from smoking, so I will hope to strengthen my gums and whiten my teeth. I’ve noticed I am routinely dehydrated, so drinking more than four glasses of water per day is another must. Creativity and planning come natural to me, as I am addicted to change and mental development. I would love to indulge more in recreational living, but I have financial obligations towards school that must be remedied before I may pursue other life interests. Most importantly, I will remember to enjoy the small amount of time I have left on this Earth.
1Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition (8th Edition), p.19
2See AMDR Calculation, attached spreadsheet “AMDR”
3Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition (8th Edition), p.18
4Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition (8th Edition), p.38
8Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition (8th Edition), Exchange Lists, p.47
10 Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition (8th Edition), Table 16-4: Strategies for Growing Old Healthfully, p.576