After a 3-day exercise (1st Oct to 3rd Oct 2015) of tracking and recording my food intake, I was able to generate three reports: a daily food log for the three days, an intake versus goals report and a macronutrients ranges report. An overview of the reports revealed interesting findings on my nutrition food intake trends and nutrition provisions. On average I consumed less calories than the provisions on the Dietary Reference Intake (DRIs) by 100 calories.
Macronutrients ranges report
Carbohydrates were the least consumed macro-nutrients as they were less than the recommended low (less than 45%). Proteins intake was fairly consumed as it ranged at 17% which is a midpoint of the recommended low and the recommended high for protein intake. Fats logged in as the greatest surprise at 39%, this was higher than the recommended high for fats intake. No alcohol was recorded over the period.
Intake vs. Goals report
The detailed intake vs. goals report indicated DRI requirements on one side and the actual intake on the right. Proteins intake was registered at 99.5g. The 255.73g of carbohydrates consumed was much less than the DRI of 258g. Dietary fiber was consumed 60% lower than the required amount. Fats consumed were 32.27g which is more than the recommended 23g. Vitamin C was deficient in the food intake.
The recommended intake for vitamin C was 85mg but I consumed 28mg. Vitamin D was also in deficit at 66% less than the recommended intake. Sodium intake was in excess at 5,504mg compared to the recommended 1,500mg. Other minerals such as calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and zinc were consumed less than required. Water was also consumed below par, at 1,432g which is 50% less to the requirements (Anderson, 2000).
Correcting the lows
For the low nutrients taken such as carbohydrates and proteins, the following foods can be consumed: Carbohydrates foods would include rice, potatoes, whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes and bananas. These specific foods would increase the carbohydrates intake gently while keeping it under the recommended high. They provide a better alternative to simple carbohydrates foods such as sugars, chips, white bread, pastry, burgers and pizzas which would spike the carbohydrates to an unexpected high (Wansink, 2004).
Proteins would include almost all white meats such as fish and chicken. It would also include some plant proteins such as beans and green grams. Red meat would also be suggested if it is lean meat with little or no fat. This would steadily increase the intake of the above mentioned nutrients.
Vitamins would require an excess of fruits and vegetables intake which also have a high level of water. These include kales, spinach, broccoli, cabbages, tomatoes, carrots, oranges, pineapples, apples and grapes.
By taking in more water, the minerals intake will also be improved over time. Water hosts a majority of the natural minerals and will also dissolve much of the sodium taken in from salt intake.
Correcting the highs
It was a surprise that the fats intake was much higher than the DRI requirements. Much of the fat taken was saturated fat. This was ingested when eating fried eggs, Ham, McDonald’s snack wrap chicken, whole milk, cheese and any fried food I took. To reduce such future intakes, I will have to stick to grilling, baking or boiling of all foods. I will also have to stay away from whole milk and dairy products. Sodium intake was also high which was attributed to the intake of salted foods and soft drinks. To deal with these, the best option is to take more water and reduce salt intake.
Suggested changes to the diet
In my assessment, the low intake of carbohydrates below the recommended low was fine for me. This s due to the fact that most weight loss and toning diets request a decrease in carbohydrates intake to achieve a ketogenic state. Protein intake was poor and should be increased. Increasing protein intake will guarantee a higher metabolic state and less production of stored fats in my body. Fat intake should definitely be reduced especially for saturated fats which would build up cholesterol levels. More water intake is highly recommended as a definite point to change. It will enhance digestion and increase body metabolism (Wansink, 2007).
The McDonald’s McCafe Coffee, Frappe, Mocha, Small was my biggest surprise as it had the highest amount of calories of any food I took on day 3. Breaking it down, I noticed that it had lots of saturated fats, simple sugars and high carbohydrate levels.
Day 3 being a weekend, I ate out with some family members at a nearby shopping mall. The choice for the lunch meal was based on social and peer pressure to fit into the occasion.
Behaviors and common factors influencing choice of food
To be honest, I rarely read food labels. I almost always never notice them, especially in foods in a box or served drinks. This may be the greatest discovery I made from this assignment. I now believe that it is imperative to check the food labels for the breakdown.
Social pressure was the greatest influencer of choice of foods. In most cases, I would feel to eat what was common serve. If everyone is having it, I may likely have the same.
Lack of better choices would be the second influencing factor. We have too many fast food joints and very few actual organic or food points. There are also too many visual display units that affect judgement especially when hungry (Stroebele & Castro, 2004).
Availability and affordability would make another factor. Most fast food joints are cheaper and much more accessible. This is true especially during lunch hours.
Late night snacks after dinner have been a bad habit instigated in me over my bringing up. Although the snacks seem to be of low calories, the often to create some hunger for more food (Westerterp, 1999).
Stress and moods are a common feature that affect my decision making. When stressed I find myself eating randomly and more often. The influence of stress on food choice is composite. Overall, some persons eat more and others eat less than usual when facing stress Fascinatingly, it appears that the impact of food to attitudes is linked to the developed defiance for certain foods (Patel & Schlundt, 2001).
Anderson, A. & Cox, D. (2000). Five a day: challenges and achievements. Nutrition and Food Science. London: Oxford Up.
Patel, K. & Schlundt, D. (2001). Impact of moods and social context on eating behavior. Appetite. Tennessee: Brentwood.
Stroebele, N. & Castro, J. (2004). Television viewing is associated with an increase in meal frequency in humans. Atlanta: Georgia state.
Wansink, B. (2004). Environmental Factors That Escalate the Food Intake and Consumption Volume of Innocent Consumers. Manhattan: Random House Digital Inc.
Wansink, B. (2007). Mindless eating: Why we eat more than we think. Manhattan: Random House Digital Inc.
Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S. (1999). Effects of extreme environments on food intake in human subjects. London: CABI Publishing.