Actions are Measurable. What Nutritional Choice did you Make Today?
Dietary guidance encourages the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood. Why? Because far too many people are not consuming recommended amounts of dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin E. As discussed yesterday, most people need to increase their consumption of omega-3 fatty acids to balance n-3:n-6 fatty acid levels in the body. These food groups provide these nutrients.
Golley and colleagues examined dietary intakes and blood nutritional markers of 130 children, 4-13y, living in Australia. Blood concentrations of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and n-3 fatty acids were significantly correlated with dietary intake and there was an association with lutein concentrations. Approximately 4% of plasma fatty acids were n-3 fatty acids. A red blood cell omega-3 index of >8% is desirable.
Carotenoids are found in yellow, red, and orange pigments found in plants. Serum carotenoid concentrations reflect dietary intake and have been inversely associated with non-communicable disease risk. The data from Australian children is similar to that reported in American adults and children. We simply do not consume enough carotenoid-rich foods. And there is often adoption of numerous lifestyle choices, including physical inactivity, which are associated with fat accumulation and health risk.
Finally, >90% of Americans do not consume recommended amounts of vitamin E. Because of suboptimal intake, serum α-tocopherol concentrations are low. Whole-grains, nuts, and omega-3 oils contain vitamin E. Whole-grains also provide dietary fiber. Nuts provide long-chain fatty acids and fiber. By choosing nutrient dense foods, especially enriched/fortified foods, people reduce the risk of micronutrient inadequacy.
Fortified foods help ensure nutrient adequacy. Another option is to give your child a multivitamin-mineral supplements. The worst choice is inaction.
Golley RK, McNaughton SA, Hendrie GA. A dietary guideline adherence score is positively associated with dietary biomarkers but not lipid profile in healthy children. 2014 J Nutr doi: 10.3945/jn.114.197970
Harris WS, von Shacky C. The omega-3 index: a new risk factor for death from coronary heart disease. 2004 Prev Med doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.02.030
Gruber M, Chappell R, Millen A, LaRowe T, Moeller SM, Iannaccone A, Kritchevsky SB, Mares J. Correlates of serum lutein + zeaxanthin: findings from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. 2004 J Nutr 134:2387-2394
Fulgoni VL, Keast DR, Bailey RL, Dwyer J. Foods, fortificants, and supplements: where do Americans get their nutrients? 2011 J Nutr doi: 10.3945/jn.111.142257
Bailey RL, Gahche JL, Thomas PR, Dwyer JT. Why US children use dietary supplements. 2013 Ped Res doi:10.1038/pr.2013.160
Dwyer JT, Woteki C, Bailey R, Britten P, Carriquiry A, Miller D, Moshfegh A, Murphy MM, Smith Edge M. Fortification: new findings and implications. 2014 Nutr Rev doi: 10.1111/nure.12086