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Nutritional Analysis

By iamlovedbygod Jan 27, 2011 1315 Words
Within our global economy, we are bombarded by companies advertising schemes informing consumers the product is healthy and nutritious. This clouds our perception of what is a “healthy” food and how much we should consume of that food. After spending eight days analyzing the food I consume, including the homemade items, I find much of the food on the market today is a potentially toxic form of poison hidden under a bunch of government politics. Prior to this class I was under the influence of many of these schemes. After the daunting task of analyzing the food I consume, I have learned my diet needs improvements in many areas. Having a healthy and nutritious diet is possible. It takes time, analysis and a willingness to ensure you are providing your body with the essential nutrients it needs. According to MyPyramid plan, I should be consuming six ounces of grains, 2.5 cups of vegetables, 1.5 cups of fruit, three cups of dairy and five ounces of meat and beans. Of those five food groups, I came close to the recommendation for fruit based on the data received from their website with 1.3 cups. Trying to determine if this was accurate based on the food analysis spreadsheet seemed impossible. Within the other food groups, I consumed 4.5 ounces of grains, 1.8 cups of vegetables, 1.5 cups of dairy and 1.3 ounces of meat and beans. I found fruit to be comical since I constantly remind myself I am not eating enough fruit. I thought I would be over in grains, meats and beans and vegetables and low in fruits and dairy. I think I do not consume enough dairy because as I grew up the thought of drinking milk became less interesting as the amount of products on the market grew and I was allowed the choice to have a variety of drinks. I also worry about the amount of fat I consume and thought the amount of milk I drank was directly correlated to the weight I would gain. After reviewing the plan it is obvious, within each of the five food groups I need to increase my intake, yet the question remains – how to do so without increasing total calories, sodium and fat? Carbohydrates were an area I did not meet the dietary recommendation. Prior to taking this nutrition class, I believe carbohydrates were bad for you. I now know they are essential for your brain to function properly. I feared I consumed way too many carbohydrates and would try to cut back. Based on the MyPyramid Plan, I should be consuming between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates a day. During the eight days I tracked food consumption, I met the requirement once. The other seven days I was below dietary recommendation. On average I ate around 200 grams of carbohydrates a day. Meeting the dietary recommendation for carbohydrates is difficult for me. I need to continually remind myself carbohydrates are essential and good for my body and especially my brain. I believed consuming carbohydrates and sugar contributed to overeating and obesity. I did not want to add to my weight battle due to thyroid disease. Going forward, I need to figure out the best carbohydrates for my body while minimizing the fat, sugar and sodium added to my diet. The text recommends a fiber intake of 20 to 35grams of per day. On average my fiber intake was 13.94 grams a day. I received a little less than half of the recommendation for fiber. This was not a surprising factor for me. I have struggled with fiber intake for years primarily due to a farce fiber led to constipation. I now realize the opposite is true and need to take the steps necessary to increase the amount of fiber in my diet. To increase my fiber intake, I need to increase the amount of beans and whole grains on a daily basis supplemented by additional fruits and vegetables. I was amazed to find fat was one of the areas I was below recommendations. I believed I ingested too much fat on a daily basis. My total fat consumption for the eight days was 257.27. This area will be the hardest for me to change and increase. I do not care for nuts but try to cook with them and add them to recipes. I despise fish and have tried to eat it several times and with differing recipes, but just can’t get past the fishy smell or taste. I cook with extra virgin olive oil. I can increase the amount of avocado I eat and add more peanut butter. Of the fat consumed, 91.33 grams was Saturated fat. I was unable to determine if this was a “good” or “bad” aspect of the fat intake. Protein was another area where my intake levels did not meet recommendations. Based on MyPyramid Plan, I should be consuming between 50 – 175 grams of protein a day. I was very surprised to discover my protein intake was lower than recommended. During the week tracking my food, I was within the recommended protein range three days out of eight. The results surprised me because I typically consume red meat, chicken, beans, cheese and milk. The results made me wonder what more I could do to increase the amounts of protein in my diet. Protein is needed by the body to build and repair cells and to aid in times of sickness or stress. Without the right amount of protein, my body is limited in the resources it has to perform these tasks. I personally believed I was exceeding the recommended levels for protein. The results for sodium led me to the belief of the toxic nature of foods. The amount of sodium consumed in a day and then for an eight day period was shocking. In my diet, I consumed an average of 1806.50 micrograms of sodium. For the week, I consumed 14,451.96 micrograms. The dietary recommendation I received from MyPyramid was 1500 to 2300 micrograms per day. Four days of eight I was within the recommended amount. Three days I was below the recommended amount and on one day I was nearly 1200 micrograms above the recommended intake. However, when you realize the average person only requires 500 micrograms a day of sodium, you grasp the toxicity. I was also amazed at some of the products that contain sodium. It seemed almost like high fructose corn syrup in that nearly all foods had at least trace elements of sodium in them. In other foods the sodium levels were off the charts. Since analyzing the data, I have already begun looking for ways to minimize the amount of salt in my diet. I have been paying more attention to the sodium content in the food labels, searching for products that state “low in sodium” or “no salt”. I purchase fresh vegetables and steam them. If a recipe specifically calls for salt, I will add it but try to reduce the amounts without affecting the end product. I use other spices and citrus in place of salt for seasoning. It seems as though I am taking the correct steps to reduce my sodium intake and yet the values are so high. Nutrition is not easy. It can be challenging, deceiving and time consuming. With so many unhealthy products on the market which boast “nutritious” ingredients, are simple and affordable to prepare; the concept of eating healthy becomes tricky. Having a nutritious diet is possible though and I need to work fervently to ensure my family and I succeed. The food consumption analysis has opened my eyes to the toxic quantity of sodium in my diet, the need for additional protein and fiber, and to ensure the five food groups are represented in all meals.

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