Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What Do Your 4 Lbs Say About You?

The average American eats approximately 4 pounds of food a day. Sometimes more, sometimes less - but around 4 pounds is average. 

If someone examined your daily intake - what would they see? What would they surmise about you? Does the person who eats this food in a 24 hour period take care of his/her body, or is this person eating carelessly and without regard to their well being and health? 

Check out these famous pictures of weekly food intake from countries around the world, compared to the one for the United States:

 China - lots of vegetables, grains, and a little meat. There is a little alcohol in there, too - but that isn't the focus for this pic. A mainly vegetable centric diet, with meat and grain added.

Eqypt:  Again, lots of fruit and vegetables with some whole grain bread and a little bit of packaged food in there as well. On the whole, pretty healthy.

The United States: An embarrassment of poor nutrition. Fast food, processed meats, snack foods, beer, sodas, and sugary juices. The only healthy items on that table are the grapes, tomatoes, and the milk.

What do the 3 pictures above imply about how these people eat and live? Do they take care of themselves? Who is healthy? Who is not?

Every day, we make decisions on our nutrition. Eat this, not that. But back to your 4 lbs of food.

  • 4 pounds of raw veggies will provide 400 calories
  • 4 pounds of raw fruits will provide 1000 calories
  • 4 pounds of cooked whole grains/legumes provides 1600 calories
  • 4 pounds of nuts/seeds provides about 10,000 calories
  • 4 pounds of Lucky Charms, Pop Tarts, Cheese provides about 10,000 calories

If we eat 4 pounds of energy-controlled, whole, real food – we get lots of nutrition with a calorie count that our body can handle.

What’s our poundage portion?

Most people in the U.S. are consuming (on average) the following amounts of food each day:

2.0 pounds of meat, dairy and eggs
1.5 pounds fruits and veggies
0.5 pound grains
0.5 pounds added sugars, fats and oils
= 4.5 pounds
= about 3,700 calories per day

What if we switched this around?

2.5 pounds of fruits and veggies
1.0 pounds of grains and legumes
0.3 pounds nuts/seeds
0.3 pounds meat, dairy and eggs
0.1 pounds added sugars, fats and oils
= 4.2 pounds
= about 2,075 calories per day (this isn’t really that much, especially if you’re physically active.)

If we prioritize and eat nutritious, real, controlled energy foods – there isn’t much room left for the energy dense, fake foods. You only have about 4 pounds to work with each day.

Thanks to Ryan at Precision Nutrition for some of the info above