Sunday 17 March 2013


Twelve years ago I did a detailed dietary and exercise analysis on myself  for a class I was teaching as I wanted some real figures for  demonstration purposes. The technology then was a bit crude and free-to-use online food databases rather restricted. Now the USDA provide this useful tool, the interface is a little clunky but it seems to do what's needed:

SuperTracker can help you plan, analyze, and track your diet and physical activity.

This sort of tool (or even  pen, paper and a copy of 'McCance and Widdowson's the Composition of Foods') is very helpful in developing an inventory of nutritional need and relating it to your actual diet. One does need to remember though that many micronutirent RDAs and 'food pyramids' are not backed by substantial evidence and inevitably have a political or socio-economic bias underpinning them.

For instance, the cover of 'Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010' does not show any red meat on the cover which cannot be representative of the typical American diet. The cover photographs show a political wish, not the life of the population. Likewise, the same document recommends that protein should account for 10-35% of the calories of a typical man's diet. That corresponds to 50-175g of protein. Contrast this with the British reference level of 55.5g and the WHO recommendation of 54g for my weight, with their advice that two times this level should be risk free whereas three times may not be; so an American 175g intake might be harmful. These simple macronutrient values are affected of course by 'protein quality' and a myriad of individual factors, which are well discussed in the WHO document. As for micronutrients...

No comments:

Post a Comment