Three Day Diet: Summary and Recommendations
In order for me to achieve my goal this new year of start living a healthy lifestyle such as consuming a healthy diet and being physically active, I need to be aware of all the pros and cons of all the food and its ingredients that I am eating as well as how am I able to spend all the kcals and energies that I have by being active. To begin with that, through the help of Diet and Wellness Plus (DWP), I am able to analyze my diet and see what went wrong and what needs improvement. As a result, I selected five items consisting of both micronutrients and macronutrients that need to be modified by following certain meal recommendations that I have created for myself, based on my three-day diet analysis. This would help me properly manage my diet and intake as well as to have a healthy body inside and out.
Based on the DWP analysis, my Daily Recommended Intake (DRI) for carbohydrates is between 285.75 – 412.75 g, so far, I am still within the DRI range having 310.13 g of carbohydrates intake per day which means that I just need to maintain it. However, when it comes to specific carbohydrates, especially dietary fibers, the result showed me that my intake is below my DRI of 25.0 g/day for dietary fibers, only meeting 92.33 % of it by only having 23.08g per day. This means that while I am able to reach my DRI for my carbohydrate intake, I still have to focus on increasing my dietary fiber intake to be able to balance it with my DRI.
According to Makki et al, a low intake of dietary fibers can lead to a higher risk of chronic inflammatory diseases such as colorectal cancer, intestinal bowel diseases (IBD), and also obesity due to the depletion of bacterial taxa and disruption of our microbial system. With that being said, all the adjustments that I have to make reflect on the MyPlate result which helps me reach my DRIs like increasing my dietary fiber intake. This includes switching to whole grains for at least 4.5 oz, I also need to include at least 2.5 cups per week of dry beans and peas in my diet. I can also include other food that is a good source of dietary fibers that are not included in the MyPlate result such as broccoli, almonds, avocados, and apples which I really love to be included in my diet. I am going to look for easy steps on how to cook or prepare healthy food in just a few minutes that will include some of the food mentioned above, as I have a tight schedule, cooking meals are really hard for me but having guidance and meal planned ahead of the day, I am going to make it work to be a healthy person.
Vitamin D is very important for mineral and bone metabolism. It is associated to the homeostasis of calcium and phosphorus in our body that helps maintain our overall bone health including our skin. Based on the result of my DWP, I am surprised that I am not able to meet the DRI for vitamin D. My vitamin D is the lowest of all the vitamins that I obtain only having 23.24% of it, falling below my DRI of 15.00 µg by only obtaining 3.486 µg a day. I assumed that I am able to obtain an adequate vitamin D by just being exposed outside, as the climate here in California is always sunny which is a naturally good source of vitamin D, however, that’s not the case, I still need to have supports from my diets in order to meet my DRI for this vitamin.
According to Hollick, vitamin D deficiency is a common health concern globally. Obtaining inadequate vitamin D can lead to higher risks of chronic and acute illnesses such as periodontitis, preeclampsia, and some infections and autoimmune diseases. Low vitamin D in our body can also lead to low bone density and eventually can cause osteoporosis. Although being exposed to the sun still provide you with vitamin d, it is still not enough source of vitamin D and you still need to acquire a huge portion of it from your diet. With that being said, MyPlate recommended me to include 10 oz per week of seafood in my diet as well as some poultry eggs for at least 31 oz per week. I am also planning to start having smart food choices by buying some foods like juices, yogurts, and cereals that are fortified with high vitamin D. Other than that, I am also going to start jogging early in the morning which will be beneficial for me for being exposed in the sun, acquiring vitamin D and engaging in an exercise.
On the other side, the analysis also showed me that I am not able to satisfy my body’s needs when it comes to my potassium intake. Although as you can see, I had bananas on my diet which are good source of potassium, but still not enough to meet my DRI. Based on the analysis, my potassium intake of 2,555.39 mg is still lower than the DRI of 4,700 mg/day. It only provides me 54. 37% of potassium a day. According to Falkner, a diet that includes high potassium food can help individuals regulate their blood pressure and having a potassium deficit in our body can lead to hypertension, that’s why it is very important to encourage children to have a diet pattern of potassium-rich food.
To be able to meet my DRI for my potassium intake, I am still going to have bananas as part of my diet. I can eat it as it is, and if I have enough time, I can actually make some shakes or smoothies out of it, especially that the climate here in California is hot this will help me keep myself hydrated too. Other than that, drinking orange juice is also a good source of vitamin k. I am also planning to consume fat-free milk over low-fat milk because it contains higher potassium. Either drink it or mix it with my fortified cereals. And because I love tomatoes, I am going to toss fresh tomatoes into my salad which can contain more than 1,000 mg of potassium per cup. To add more flavors, I can include baby spinach, bok choy, potatoes, or avocados on that salad and boom! they are all good source of potassium.
I am not surprised anymore that my saturated fat intake is above my DRI. I am a little bit guilty, because I am fully aware about the food that are high in saturated fat but still decided to eat them. This includes the pizza, French fries, hamburger and mac n’ cheese that I ate during the 3-day diet analysis, and as you can see, all of this are fast food. Based on the reported data under the fat breakdown section, saturated fat is the highest source of fat that I consumed for over 11.74% followed by monounsaturated fat. My recommended DRI for saturated fat is only 28.2 g a day, however, my intake is ranging at 31.56 g a day, which is 111.92% of the DRI. According to Ruiz-Nunez et al, a high saturated fat diet can contribute to the increase of low blood density lipoprotein cholesterol which can lead to a greater risk of cardiovascular disease. According to McGuire and Beerman, the Dietary Guidelines recommend that saturated fat should only be within the limit of 10% of the overall individual caloric intake to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The best way to control my high saturated fat intake is to first stay away from eating fast food like pizza, hamburgers, and French fries as much as I can. As eating out is not healthy, I am going to do my best to do simple and easy meal prep that can be accommodated by my tight schedule as long as I am sure that I am putting healthy food in my body. I will focus more on eating vegetables and fruits. I am also going to avoid frying and would rather bake or broil. They’re also wide choices of milk that are tagged as fat-free or reduced-fat instead of buying whole milk. I am also going to avoid creams in my recipes and choose low-fat cheeses. Having more chicken and fish in my diet is also one way to reduce my high saturated fat intake, but of course, I should also consider my protein source that’s coming from meat. The best way is to choose leaner cuts of beef or pork, this would help me limit and meet the recommended DRI for saturated fat.
All I can say is that my sodium intake is very disappointing. It is unbelievable having 213.59% of the recommended DRI of my sodium intake. I felt like I am not taking good care of myself by just seeing these numbers. The DRI for my sodium intake has a limit of 1,500 mg per day and my intake is tripled the suggested DRI, which is 3, 203.80 mg a day. Going back to my 3-day diet analysis, the pizza, smoked sausage, and the mac n’ cheese contributed high to my sodium intake ranging over 1,000 mg each. According to Lopez-Jaramillo et al, high sodium intake increases the risk of hypertension leading to congestive heart failure, kidney failure, and stroke. It is proposed to reduce sodium intake while increasing the potassium intake in our diet to reduce the chances of developing hypertension and other chronic diseases.
In order for me to reduce my sodium intake, I really have to monitor my food intake, its quality and of course have smart choices of food. There are different ways on how to do it, first is that, I need to check the nutrition facts label of all the food/ingredients that I am going to buy for my meal. I am going to stay out with instant food and also eating out. I am going to start choosing healthy and fresh food rather than buying canned goods. My preference when it comes to choosing food will be low sodium or no sodium at all. Instead of cooking whole egg, I could just cook egg white, spices could be garlic or onion powder, pepper, and lemon for a healthier choice than salt. Fresh fruits like pineapples, watermelons and peaches will be part of my diet too and they are also low or no sodium at all. Vegetables like eggplants, broccoli, and carrots are perfect for any healthy meal prep that are low in sodium.
After analyzing my DWP result and the recommended food suggested by MyPlate, I became more conscious about the food that I eat especially when it comes to the quality and its nutrient label. I remember before, when I try to lose weight and wanted to become healthy, all I do is minimize the quantity of the food that I eat but I am still consuming the same food all over again with lesser quantity. However, it doesn’t work that way, I really need to see the nutrients or dive deeper on the qualities followed by the quantities of the food that I consume. With my result, I really need to take the necessary steps and changes to my diet as soon as possible. Having elevated sodium and saturated fat intake will really put me at risk of having chronic diseases in the future, and at this time not having any signs of it means that I need to work on my diet pattern as well as my physical activities as early as I can. I don’t want to make a change when I know that its already too late, starting from now on, I would focus on monitoring my food intake and have a balanced diet together with proper exercise in order to live long and healthy.
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