Losing weight and being fit and healthy are some of the most common resolutions American’s make at the beginning of each year. There are numerous resources that can help people achieve healthy eating goals including the media (the subject of a previous post on Talking Nutrition), MyPlate which helps individuals use the Dietary Guidelines in the US and the Food Guide in Canada. These resources are largely based around dietary intakes to help people meet their nutrient requirements. But how often do you make a dietary choice because it helps meet your nutrient requirements?
Entries filed under 'Rachel Murphy'
Making healthy nutrition choices is a challenge for many Americans. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report highlighted the many nutrient shortfalls in the diet of Americans including vitamins A, D, and C, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium and fiber. In 2010 the facts up front-of-pack (FOP) labeling initiative was implemented to help consumers, make healthy choices. The approach is that there are ‘simple’ icons that show calories, nutrients to limit and an option to highlight the content of nutrients to encourage: shortfall nutrients plus iron and protein. These icons are readily noticeable on many products on grocery store shelves but are they resulting in healthier choices?
There are a lot of headlines about obesity in children and adolescents and for good reason; in 2012 nearly 1 in 5 children and adolescents in the US were obese. However, it is important to recognize that body fat accumulation reflects excess energy and not excess micronutrient like vitamins and minerals or other nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Hidden hunger; adequate energy intake but insufficient micronutrients is a global problem.
When was the last time you ate fish? When was the last time you ate fatty fish (fish sticks don’t count) like salmon, herring or sardines? If you had to pause to think, you are not alone. Data from the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows that the mean dietary intake of EPA and DHA found mainly in fatty fish and some fortified foods is only 86mg in adults 19 and older. Intake is slightly higher in adults 70 and older (100mg) but still far below expert recommendations of 250 mg of EPA and DHA per day.
It is finally beginning to feel like spring in the Northeastern United States. The sun is shining and the days are getting longer but that does not mean that we can stop worrying about meeting our vitamin D requirements. Vitamin D or the “sunshine vitamin” can be synthesized with sun exposure, about 15-20 minutes is needed to reach normal serum 25(OH)D3 concentrations. Sunscreen, skin color, clothing and geographical location all affect vitamin D synthesis. In the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report vitamin D is named as a ‘shortfall’ nutrient and higher levels of vitamin D intake via fortified foods or supplements is highlighted.