Dietary Tidbits

Why We Eat

  • Availability
  • Beliefs
  • Boredom
  • Convenience
  • Economy
  • Familiarity
  • Hunger
  • Nutrition
  • Personal Preference
  • Reward or Consolation
  • Socialization
  • Temptation


Those who eat breakfast almost every day experience better health than those who eat breakfast some of the time

Brestow L, Enstom J, (1980). Persistence of health habit and their relationship to mortality. Preventive Medicine 9; 469-483.

Protein and Work Metabolism

A 4% higher work metabolism has been associated with a higher protein intake (149 verses 76 grams per day) in a controlled study of the effects of restricted protein on men working in the heat.

Morehouse LE, Augustus TM (1971), Physiology of exercise, The C.V. Mosby Company, Saint Louis, 6th Ed, pg 209.

Dietary Intake Assessment Problems

  • Under reporting of food
  • Exact quantities using standardized units of measurements are not recorded
  • Description of food is not specific enough
  • Temporary dietary changes only when recording food intake
  • 3-5 day journal may not include special meals (eg: during weekends, holidays, etc)

Fruit and Vegetable Shortage

If all Americans followed the USA federal guidelines, consuming 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, there would not be enough fruits and vegetables available. (2007 CNN interview with Iowa Senator, America's Killer Diet)

More Money Spent at Restaurants

In 2016, for the first time in history, Americans spent more money at restaurants than grocery stores.

Average American Diet

The macronutrient content in the average American diet is equivalent to:

  • 2/3 cup of sugar (158 ml)
  • 1/2 cup of shortening (118 ml)
  • 1 1/2 cup of flour (355 ml)
  • 1 1/2 cup of cottage cheese (355 ml)

Average Sugar Consumption

Average American consumes 43lbs (19.5 kg) of sugar per year

Average Australian consumes 65 lbs (29.5 kg) of sugar per year

Lactose Intolerance

Percentage of people with lactose intolerance by race:

  • 90-95% Oriental
  • 15-25% Caucasian
  • 70% African
  • 50-55% Mexican
  • 60% Jewish
  • Up to 95% Native Americans

People with lactose intolerance can usually tolerate a few ounces of milk at a setting, particularly when consumed with other foods. Milk based products such as cheese, yogurt, ice cream (limited amounts) are usually digested with no ill effects. Other sources of calcium include spinach, artichokes, broccoli, and canned fish, like salmon or jack mackerel (with small bone bits in meat).

Milk Fat in Children's Milk

Children drinking low fat milk as their only milk source in the three weeks prior to illness had five times the risk of a doctor's visit for acute gastrointestinal illness as did children who only drank whole milk during the same time period

Koopman JS, Turkisk VJ, Monto AS, Thompson FE, Isaacson RE (1984). Milk fat and gastrointestinal illness. Am J Public Health. 74(12), 1371-3.

Alcohol's Health Benefits

Having a drink at night seems to have a beneficial effect on your heart by raising HDL levels. See exchange list (lower page) for serving size.

  • Women: 1 serving
  • Men: Up to 2 servings

Balancing Dietary Acids

When we ingest a diet high in acid producing foods, our body neutralizes the acids by means of several buffering systems. According to Dr. John Berardi, PhD, these systems may become overwhelmed over time. He explains calcium from our bones and glutamine from muscles are released to help neutralize these acids. Other minerals that may neutralize acid producing foods include Magnesium, Iodine, Potassium, and Sodium. Dr. John Berardi recommends 2-3 servings of fruits and vegetables at each meal to neutralize excessive acids. Other supplemental buffers he mentions are glutamine, creatine, and potassium bicarbonate.

pH of production of certain classes of foods:

  • Acid producing
    • Meats and many refined carbohydrates
      • Includes white flour, white rice, and sugar
  • Base producing
    • Fruits and vegetables
    • Includes citrus fruits and tomatoes
      • which are acidic outside the body

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