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Reflection of Daily Nutrition Intake Essay

Hypothesis:

My daily caloric intake is anticipated to be higher than the recommended allowance of carbohydrates, lipids and sodium; however, it is expected to be lower than the recommended allowance for proteins, minerals, and vitamins.

Research:

In the United States, people use almost their entire food budget on processed foods which often have been treated with chemicals after being harvested or butchered. These chemicals are additives and preservatives which are substances intended to change the food before it is purchased by customers. Additives can be flavorings that enhance the food’s taste, dyes that alter the color, and dietary additives, such as vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and other supplements. Preservatives are used to extend a products shelf life by preventing bacterial or fungal growth, oxidation (which can lead to the discoloration or rancidity), or inhibiting the natural ripening of fruits and vegetables. Packaging is considered an “Indirect Food Additive” because it can add substances to the food it protects. A common preservative in the food that I eat is called propionic acid, which prevents mold in bread. Also, most processed foods rely on additives to restore the flavor that is lost in processing or create new flavors altogether.

For example McDonald’s chicken products like Chicken McNuggets® add “chicken flavor”. A food additive is considered fit for human consumption after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves it. However, this decision can prove to be poor because when certain chemicals are added to processed food products, some of these food and color additives provoke an allergic reaction or other critical health problems. For example, monosodium glutamate (MSG) causes headaches, nausea, weakness, difficulty breathing, drowsiness, rapid heartbeat, and chest pain. This can be avoided because it is required for all of the ingredients to be listed on the food label. Unfortunately, additives and preservatives are often unclear as to what they include. Saturated fat is found in foods from animals and certain types of plants. Foods from animals include beef, lamb, pork, lard, poultry fat, and other dairy products made from milk. Foods from plants that contain saturated fat include coconut, tropical oils, and cocoa butter.

Two types of unsaturated fat are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. They are found mostly in fish, nuts, seeds and oils from assorted plants. Trans-fatty acids are found in small amounts in various animal products such as beef, pork, lamb and the butterfat in butter and milk. Both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are considered to be healthy because they may help lower one’s blood cholesterol level when replacing saturated and trans fats. Unsaturated fatty acids are found in two different types: “cis” and “trans.” These terms refer to the hydrogen atoms physical positioning around the carbon chain. The cis form is more common than the trans form. In some studies hydrogenated fats, or trans fats, mostly raised the total LDL cholesterol level and lower the HDL cholesterol levels. This could result in the heightened risk of heart disease.

Essential Vitamins and Minerals are often called micronutrients because only a small portion is needed to live a healthy lifestyle. Without these micronutrients one is almost guaranteed to become infected with a disease like scurvy, blindness or rickets. Although they are both considered micronutrients, vitamins and minerals differ in basic ways. Vitamins are organic and can be broken down by heat, air, or acid. Minerals on the other hand are inorganic and hold on to their chemical structure. Essential Vitamins include Fat-Soluble and Water-Soluble Vitamins. The water-soluble vitamins are B and C and the fat-Soluble Vitamins are A, D, E, and K. The fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E, and K. Firstly, Vitamin A is vital for good vision, prevents night blindness, keeps mucous membranes healthy and is necessary for healthy skin and hair growth. Next, Vitamin D is found in foods obtained from the sun.

It helps bones use the mineral calcium to build strong bones and it prevents rickets. Also, Vitamin E helps breakdown polyunsaturated fats. It is an antioxidant that protects blood cell membranes from too much oxygen. Finally the fat-soluble Vitamin K is essential for the clotting of blood. It can be found in foods or produced in bacteria in the small intestines. The water-soluble vitamins are B and C. C is the most famous vitamin, and is also referred to as ascorbic acid. It helps form collagen, grow and repair body tissue and blood vessels, and prevent scurvy. However, too much Vitamin C can lead to the creation of Kidney stones and the breakdown of red blood cells.

Vitamin B is complex and has several different types such as B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), Naicin, B6, B12, and Folacin. Amino Acids are organic compounds. They are the monomers of proteins and consist of both an amino group and a carboxyl group. The human body is unable to synthesize certain amino acids called “essential amino acids,” “the human body can synthesize all of the amino acids necessary to build proteins except for the ten called the “essential amino acids.””(Nave 1) For example, some of the “essential amino acids are Leucine(leu) and Phenylalanine.

Conclusion:

My hypothesis was correct because as I cataloged my daily nutritional intake I found that the recommended allowance of carbohydrates, lipids and sodium is lower than what I eat and the recommended allowance for proteins, minerals, and vitamins is higher than what I eat. I am supposed to take in approximately 2000 calories a day and, on average, I only eat 900 calories a day. As I reflect on my daily nutritional intake I realize that in order to have a completely healthy lifestyle I must have more essential vitamins and minerals as well as proteins in my diet.

Works Cited
American Heart Association . “Cholesterol.” www.heart.org. American Heart Association , n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2012. <http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/Cholesterol_UCM_001089_SubHomePage.jsp>. “Helpguide helps you help yourself and others.” Helpguide helps you help yourself and others. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2012. <http://www.helpguide.org/index.htm>. Nave, R. “Essential Amino Acids.” Essential Amino Acids. University of Arizona’s Biology Project , n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2012. <hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/organic/essam.html>. Sustainable Table. “Food Additives, food additives pose threat – The Issues –


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