Monday, April 11, 2011

Dietary Anaylsis RESULTS

So, for my nutrition class my teacher had us write down our food and water intake for 4 days, then enter all that information into and do an anaylsis of our diet. These are my results:

Introduction :
Since January 2011 I have been endeavoring to eat a more healthful diet and this has resulted me dropping from 143 to 133 pounds, which was one of my goals. I already track my meals daily as part of my lifestyle in order to really monitor my calorie intake, and measuring out everything initially really helped me to understand foods better. For instance, I learnt that a tablespoon of olive oil has 120 calories. Prior to January I had endeavored to make low calorie, healthful meals but had thought nothing of putting a tablespoon of olive oil into a dish I was making. Now that I realize how high the fat content is I only use a fraction of that amount, or an alternative such as lemon juice or Braggs Liquid Amino. I enjoyed this chance to take a ‘snapshot’ of my diet and really analyze it, to make sure I was getting enough of every essential nutrient.
My protein intake was more than adequate for all four days according to both the 2005 Dietary Guidelines and the Food Guide Pyramid. I was surprised to find this, as I thought that it might be lower. As a lifelong vegetarian I have always had to defend my diet. ‘How do you get enough protein?’ is a common question. Honestly, I never really ‘try’. Its not a big endeavor to incorporate one of the many healthful vegetarian proteins into my diet and from studying this class I have come across so much evidence that plant based proteins are superior to animal based proteins. Legumes help to prevent cancer and provide fiber. Most Americans consume too much protein and not enough fresh fruits and vegetables, I’m happy to be in the minority!
My diet included lots of fruit. On each day I exceeded the required amount of fruit. It also includes regular yogurt, a good probiotic, and lots of fiber and fresh sources of nutrients. Several times a week I get a lot of fresh nutrients by making myself fresh fruit and yogurt smoothies, supplemented with spirulina, flaxseeds and fresh spinach (the taste is masked by the fresh fruit).
The only nutrient below 70% was Vitamin A, which was at 69.4%. There were also two days where protein should have been a little higher; it was just ‘adequate’. I understand from my nutrition textbook that my protein intake should be higher than the average. I also want to eat more ‘mutually supplementing’ proteins such as rice and beans, or more quinoa. My milk intake was below the recommended three cups, it was only two cups. My sodium was high on two days as well, as I ate too much processed soy. I also did not eat enough carbohydrates but that was part of my
A comparison of my food intake with the Food Guide Pyramid recommendations: (please view supplementary document for my corresponding Food Guide Pyramid charts)
My average milk cup equivalent was 1.8 when it should have been 3 cups. My protein average oz equivalent: 5.4 which is great, as 5.5oz is the recommendation. The sources of my protein are low fat, healthful vegetarian options which are lower in calories. My average vegetable equivalent was 2.8  which was above the 2.5 oz recommendation. The fruit average cup equivalent was  3.4 which was above the 2 cup recommendation. My average grain oz equivalent: 4.1 – not so good, 6oz is the recommendation but I am endeavoring to lose weight so I cut down on carbohydrates, in an attempt to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.

A comparison of my diet with the New (2005) Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Please View supplementary document for comparison with the dietary guidelines)
I had more happy than sad faces on my summary charts which was good to see. However, on three days my milk intake fell short, and on two days I had higher saturated fat which is not good in a diet, especially one focused on weight loss. I also had two days where I went over the sodium threshold.
Limitations of the analysis:
I felt like the readings were limited to an extent as a lot of specific food items could not be found, for instance Amy’s Organic Spinach Lasagna, which is only 270 calories and made with whole-wheat and natural ingredients and is more healthful than a full fat 500 calorie generic ‘Spinach Lasagna’ which I had to select from the food list as that was the only option. I also couldn’t really find specific vegetarian items such as my chicken scaloppini, which are made with quinoa, kamut and soy and much more healthful than the ‘soy chicken drumsticks’ I had to find and use as the closest comparison.
Changes I could make to improve my diet and specific food choices that would be appropriate for those changes.
My sodium was increased on the day where I had an Amy’s Frozen meal, and frozen burger patties. I want to eat less processed protein and more fresh lentils and tofu as they are lower in sodium than more processed vegetarian mock meats (I had given up canned ‘mock duck’ from Chinese stores as I realized how high the sodium content was, but didn’t realize that burger patties fell into the same category). 
I also want to work on increasing my milk intake. In the textbook it states that women suffer from osteoporosis more then men, and that young women don’t drink enough milk to prevent this disease later in life. I had thought myself to be better than the average, as I had usually have yogurt every day but I’m still below the guidelines. I also want to work on eating more vegetables so that my fruit and vegetable intakes are more equal, rather than my fruit intake far exceeding my vegetable intake. Specific vegetables I would choose, especially to increase my vitamin A intake are: Brocolli, carrots, kale, pumpkin and sweet potatoes.
Diet Analysis Project Summary Chart
Diet Component Average Intake % of Recommended Top 2 Food Items - Specific foods supplying the highest amount for each diet component
Two foods = Fruit and Soy
Nutrient Intakes on 3/23/2011-
Calories: Intake Value:1533  = 79% of Recommended Intake
Protein : Intake Value:87 = 189 % of Recommended Intake
Carbohydrates : Intake Value:226 = 173 % of Recommended Intake
Dietary Fiber: Intake Value: 43 = 172  % of Recommended Intake
Fat: Intake Value: – Total 42.2 = 70.8   % of Recommended Intake
Fat: Intake Value: – Saturated =  43.52 =7.4% of Recommended Intake
Cholesterol : Intake Value:20  = 6.6 % of Recommended Intake
Vitamin : Intake Value:A  485.9  = 69.4 % of Recommended Intake
Vitamin C: Intake Value:  170.4 = 227 % of Recommended Intake
Folate: Intake Value: 595.9   = 148 % of Recommended Intake
Vitamin B12: Intake Value: 6.1= 254  % of Recommended Intake
Calcium : Intake Value:1171.6 = 117.16  % of Recommended Intake
Sodium : Intake Value:2352   = 102 % of Recommended Intake
Potassium : Intake Value:3661 = 77.89 % of Recommended Intake
Iron : Intake Value:19.6   % = 108.8 % of Recommended Intake

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