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Diet Analysis

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These days everything seems so complicated; getting a job, surviving the recession, raising mature thoughtful children, down to what kinds of foods we put in our bodies. Growing up I was never too concerned with what I ate, I always assumed my parents knew what they were feeding me and that they wouldn’t feed me fatty foods or disgusting junk. Looking back at pictures of my childhood, I realize my parents didn’t have the good judgment about food as I thought they did and it became no secret as to why my brother called me ‘jello jiggle’; I wasn’t obese but I definitely had some extra weight to lose. Throughout my teenage years I lost the weight and faced a new struggle; being underweight. Now at 25, after having a child, I struggle with keeping my weight under control and not tipping the scale. With so many fast food and chain restaurants, along with commercials that show nothing but fatty yet tempting foods, it’s hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially with the unhealthiest foods being the most convenient. This project was an eye opener and definitely had me realize my eating habits need to change. Protein is a very important part of our diets. Proteins are major component of almost every cell and they aide in delivering iron, oxygen, and nutrients to our cells. Proteins also help develop and repair, muscle, skin, and blood cells. Proteins are great at fighting off diseases and are also a key factor in regulating our bodily functions. It’s important to eat a healthy amount of protein, but individuals must be careful to not overdue it. Too much protein, especially animal protein, can lead to possible liver and kidney problems; protein-rich foods can also be too high in fat which contributes to weight gain. Diseases that have been linked to lack of protein intake are liver and kidney issues; however protein deficiency is not that common among the American population. The government website, mypyramid.gov, or any other diet analysis program, will do a great job at tracking dietary intake for people. Mypramid.gov showed I had an intake of 40gm of protein intake and the recommended range of protein is 46. The three day analysis I completed on the diet analysis c.d. showed that for the two day I analyzed my protein intake was 44.06 and my recommended intake was 45.36, so I came in just below the mark. Carbohydrates are another important factor of our diet. Carbohydrates provide us with the energy that we need to get through the activities that we perform on a daily basis. Carbs, which is the shorter name for carbohydrates, are converted into glucose, which provides us with fuel for our bodies. The more fuel we have, the more energy we have. Carbs also help protect the function of our internal organs, nervous system, and muscles. There are two forms of carbohydrates; simple sugars and complex carbohydrate. Simple sugars comes from fruits and grains, cereals, vegetables, and dark leafy vegetables provide us with our complex carbs. Simple sugars produce glucose, which as stated above, will turn into energy. Athletes are a major abuser of simple sugars; sports food and drinks tend to be overloaded with sugars which can lead to digestive issues causing unexpected diarrhea. Another issue of too many simple sugars can be hydration; if the body consumes too much sugary products, the stomach has a hard time emptying which leads to the absorption of water. The dietary analysis c.d. stated my total intake of carbohydrates over the three day period I entered was 152.08g and the recommended intake is anywhere between 225 to 325; I need to increase my carb intake if I plan on getting more energy; which I need to get through my long days! Fats are a touchy subject; it can be confusing to determine if you are consuming too much or too little fat. Contrary to what many have us believing, fats do have some benefits! The benefits have fat are healthy skin and hair, organ protection against shock, body temperature is maintained, and cells are kept functioning. Fats contain the fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are vital in maintaining a healthy body. If we are missing some carbs in our diets, fats can provide a quick boost of energy as well. The key to fat is moderate consumption! If we do not monitor our fat intake, obesity will more than likely be a part of our lives. Triglycerides are 95% of our body fat, which is the most common form of fat in our bloodstream; too many calories eaten will make the liver convert triglycerides, which are than stored throughout the body, which results in individuals becoming overweight. Saturated fats are cells that can not hold any more hydrogen; these fats are typically found in meat and dairy. As stated above, too much fat can lead to obesity, which in turn can cause diabetes and coronary heart disease. Mypyramid.gov has me at a 26.4g intake of fat for the one day I entered, and the recommended range is 16.2-28.3; if I were to follow these guidelines I would need to start watching my intakes as my number is inching its way to the high end. The dietary analysis c.d. has my fat intake for the three days I entered at 33.74 and the dietary recommended intake is at 44-78g; following this guideline I am not getting enough fat; if I want my hair to look healthy maybe I should start monitoring my fat intake! Cholesterol is another part of our diets that we have been told to shy away from. Cholesterol is the other 5% of fat that our bodies consume. Cholesterol contains high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and low-density proteins (LDL). HDL’s determine and monitor our risk for heart disease; HDL’s eliminate cholesterol and LDL’s tend to keep the cholesterol in our bodies; which can cause heart disease and plaque in the arteries which is known as atherosclerosis. Exercise will increase our HDL levels which is a definite must if we are trying to lower our risk for heart disease. For my three day analysis my cholesterol level was at 124.59mg with the recommended intake at 300mg; mypyramid.gov has my cholesterol level for one day at 84; so far it seems I am on the right track for avoiding heart disease. Sodium, yet again another confusing part of our diet, is something that yet again, is good but also bad. Sodium helps regulate our blood and body fluids, helps the transmission of our nerve impulses, helps our heart activity, and helps metabolic functions. While this does sound like a great part of our diet; it’s not and too many Americans consume too much sodium due to highly processed and preserved foods. It has been researched, but not proven, that too much sodium can lead to hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure, and calcium loss in our urine which can lead to bone fractures as we age. My pyramid shows my sodium intake for one day at 1172 with the recommended intake at 1500-2300; looks like that day I was right on track. My three day analysis shows my sodium intake at 2418.85, with the dietary recommended intake at 1500mg; those three days it looks as though I had too much of those high processed foods. As we all should know, vitamins are an important part of our diets. Vitamins are organic and help promote growth, life, and health. Vitamins keep our nerves and skin healthy, produce blood cells, builds our bones and teeth, heals wounds, and converts food energy to body energy. Best of all, vitamins have zero calories! There are two types of vitamins; fat soluble vitamins and water soluble vitamins. Fat Soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K, and water soluble vitamins are B complex and vitamin C. Fat soluble vitamins are stored in the body, too much intake can cause toxic levels in the liver which can turn into ciffhosis symptoms. Water soluble vitamins are excrete with little problems being found. My three day average of vitamin intake varied; my intake on thiamin, vitamin C, and vitamin A were high and my intake on vitamin E, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B6 were low. My pyramid had my vitamin levels in the average range. Minerals are extremely important; without minerals are vitamins could not be absorbed. Minerals are inorganic and are part of the physiological process. Minerals are excreted, however, there are some deficiencies in some minerals that can cause problems. There are two types of minerals; macro-minerals and trace minerals. Macro-minerals include sodium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sulfur, and chloride. Trace minerals include iron, zinc, manganese, copper, and iodine. Deficiency symptoms can include goiter, anemia, weakness and confusion, tooth decay, bone loss, and possible growth failure in children. As stated previously, my three day average show my sodium intake being well above the average; however, my calcium and potassium intakes are pretty low. My calcium intake was 316.44mg with the recommended being 1000mg and my potassium intake was 1024.92mg with the recommended intake being 4700mg. My pyramid analysis was low as well with the numbers being close to my three day average. Calories, another important part of our diet that we must pay close attention to. Calories are units of measure that states the amount of energy we obtain from certain foods. An interesting fact is that around one pound of body fat contains around 3500 calories! When more calories are consumed than our bodies need; we gain weight, when less calories are being consumed, we lose weight. The more obese we get, the harder it will be to shed calories. Eating better and watching our calorie intake will keep our weights at a healthy average. My calorie intake averaged 1083.17kcal with my recommended intake being 2002kcal; so if I add a few more calories to my diet, I should be fine. My overall diet needs improving in some areas and is fine in others. I need to start watching my sodium intake and also need to make sure I am consuming the right amount of essential vitamins. This assignment was very helpful in understanding what we are putting in our bodies! More often than not, the majority of individuals will eat without thinking about what they are eating, until it’s too late. It is great to educate people the importance of our food intake so that are children can escape the obesity our country is placing on people. Ease takes place over health, when it should be the other way around. As stated above, weight has been a struggle of mine throughout the years, so now that I am at a healthy weight, it is good to learn what it is I need to do, other than exercise, to maintain my healthy weight, as well as my children.

References
Donatelle, R (2008). Access to Health. San Francisco: Pearson Education, Inc.

References: Donatelle, R (2008). Access to Health. San Francisco: Pearson Education, Inc.

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