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August 20th, 2009


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01:51 am - Nutritional Musings
We eat (what I at least like to think of) as quite healthily – I make a wide array of home-cooked meals (for recipes see the food section of my lj memories). So, just now, teaotter and I were talking about food and when she mentioned that the latest info was that USRDA for fruit and vegetables was 7-9 servings a day, we wondered about serving sizes and found this info. So, the fruit smoothies I made today (1 cup coconut milk, 2 bananas, 1.75 pints strawberries, and 2.5 cups ice – serves 4) was approximately 1.5 servings of fruit per person. So, I'd need to eat at least 5 of those a day (or the equivalent). From my PoV, that's crazy, after reading that, I immediately whined, "I just want my bread fried in olive oil, with bacon and a multi-vitamin".

I know we eat well better than most people, and even I don't eat a particularly meat-heavy diet (typically 4-5 oz of chicken a day), and I still doubt that on average we manage more than 3-4 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. I'm honestly rather horrified to imagine what a diet that actually managed 7-9 would look like, definitely not anything I'd enjoy eating.

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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:alobar
Date:August 20th, 2009 10:22 am (UTC)
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Fruits and veggies give you 2 good things. Fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Vitamin & mineral content of fruits and veggies is not nearly as high now as it was 50 years ago. Use of NPK fertilizer makes healthy looking produce which is big and plump, but lacking in nutrition. So the USDA food site claims higher vitamin & mineral content than is really in the food.
http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/

One bad thing about fruit & some veggies is the high carb content. Most of us get far more carbs than we need. Excess carbs lead to diabetes.

For upping your fiber intake , I would recommend inulin fiber. Inulin not only is good for making fluffy turds, but is food for healthy gut bacteria.
http://www.nowfoods.com/Products/ProductsbyCategory/Category/M003858.htm?cat=Digestive%20Support

One can up one's vitamin and mineral intake thru vitamin and mineral supplements. Not as yummy as oranges, bananas, and peaches, but they enable one to get sufficient vitamins and minerals without eating a tone of fruits and veggies every day.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:August 20th, 2009 11:15 am (UTC)
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One bad thing about fruit & some veggies is the high carb content. Most of us get far more carbs than we need. Excess carbs lead to diabetes.

I'm not worried about that, I'm naturally exceedingly skinny and no blood relative has ever had any sort of blood sugar problem, so I'm likely immune.

For upping your fiber intake , I would recommend inulin fiber. Inulin not only is good for making fluffy turds, but is food for healthy gut bacteria.

*nods* I take a daily fiber supplement that contains multiple types of soluable fiber, including inulin. I also take a fair number of vitamins - multi, B-100, fish oil, high dose D, & antioxident.
[User Picture]
From:alobar
Date:August 20th, 2009 12:09 pm (UTC)
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When I was a kid, I was taught that type-II diabetes was an inherited problem. But now, there is an epidemic which cannot be accounted for by genetic disposition.
http://www.idf.org/diabetes-epidemic-out-control

Heavy carb eating, whether one is slender or fat, tends to lead to insulin resistance.

If you have a medical plan which would pay for a blood test, I'd recommend getting a hemoglobin a1c test every 5 years or so. You may not want the test if you have to pay for it.
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/354/6/545
[User Picture]
From:autopope
Date:August 20th, 2009 10:53 am (UTC)
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The UK guidelines are: five portions of 100 grams per day (weight rather than volume). Fruit juices are counted as no more than one portion, unless made from blended whole fruit, in which case two portions max. Beans, potatoes, rice, and grain don't count.

Guess what? Managing a five portion/day diet is hard work (and I mostly fail).
[User Picture]
From:mindstalk
Date:August 20th, 2009 10:58 am (UTC)
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Your math seems odd.
2 bananas = 2 servings.
1.75 pints berries = 3.5 cups = 7 servings
Ignoring the coconut, that's 9 servings. How many people were you serving to to get 1.5 each?

And the coconut milk and ice is bulking it out.

I don't always make it, but here:

a banana
an apple
an orange, or half a grapefruit, or some clementines

a carrot
cup of spinach (shrinks a lot if cooked)
half-cup of broccoli
cup of lettuce. May combine with the broc or carrot for a salad. (For that matter, orange slices can make a nice 'dressing' for salad or spinach.)

Anyway that's 7 servings, and hardly seems onerous over a day. And there's half a melon, a handful of raisins, some onion in anything that takes onion, a half-cup of berries, tomatoes fresh or canned (I'll sometimes eat half a 25 oz can of good Roma tomatoes in one sitting, they're so tasty), grapes, cherries to expand the selection or just be able to swap things around. Also orange juice though that's wacky: concentrated folate and potassium, fair bit of vitamin C, allegedly no fiber though I wonder what the pulp is doing.

Really, it takes pathetic laziness for me to not make the quota; the lettuce at least has the excuse of having to clean dishes, what with the oil and vinegar. Though I've sometimes had lettuce straight to compensate. Everything else is raw or microwaveable.

The other thing is that it's easy for me to eat a lot more fruits than vegetables, especially not liking bitter leaves. But sometimes I have two carrots a day, or two servings of spinach and broccoli. And there's stuff I grew up with but never got a habit of making on my own, like frozen peas, which aren't that hard to make and can be pretty tasty.

Now, if you're the kind of people who hate the texture of raw fruits and veggies, you're probably fucked. I've known a couple people like that.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:August 20th, 2009 11:12 am (UTC)
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2 bananas = 2 servings.
1.75 pints berries = 3.5 cups = 7 servings


The same article said 6 strawberries = 1 serving and there were around 28-30 strawberries total = 5 servings, for a total of 1.7 or so servings.

Now, if you're the kind of people who hate the texture of raw fruits and veggies, you're probably fucked. I've known a couple people like that.

I enjoy fruit, but can burn out on eating it. OTOH, most raw veggies are only marginally food to me. I typically manage 1-2 servings/person in dinner (peas, green onions, onions, and spinach all being common), but no more than two (and far more commonly 0-1) for the rest of the day. It's definitely time to start buying more fruit.
[User Picture]
From:talonstrike
Date:August 20th, 2009 01:35 pm (UTC)
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I recommend going to farmers' markets. I moved out of PDX a couple of years ago, but I'm told there's a good one in the Lloyd district, which is near you IIRC. I've recently started attending farmers' markets here in Silicon Valley, and my fruit and veggie intake has increased accordingly. Since I started going, I've bought apples, peaches, nectarines, apricots, broccoli, and carrots. All were very good, much better than at the supermarket, and inexpensive to boot. The only downside is that since they're real food and not the uber-preserved stuff you get in the supermarket, you have to use them up quickly before they go bad. I've bought fruit that was perfectly good on Sunday morning but totally inedible by Wednesday. Also, you have to be willing to shop on the market's schedule instead of your own. But if you can get over those two drawbacks, you might find this helpful.
[User Picture]
From:hasufin
Date:August 20th, 2009 01:26 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, that's one thing I've long noticed - the recommended fruit & vegetable servings just aren't realistic. Which, I think, contributes to an unhealthy lifestyle - we all "know" that we're not eating as healthy as we supposedly ought to be anyway, so it's that much easier to justify a cookie or some other junk food.
[User Picture]
From:kitten_goddess
Date:August 20th, 2009 01:33 pm (UTC)
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And if you're a woman, forget it! I think the recommended caloric allowance for a woman is only 1200-1500 calories a day anyway. How on earth can a woman eat 7 servings of fruits and vegetables, plus 6 servings of grains and still stay under 1500 calories?
[User Picture]
From:talonstrike
Date:August 20th, 2009 01:38 pm (UTC)
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This is an excellent point, and doesn't apply just to women. I'm willing to bet that the reduction in nutrients in fruits and vegetables mentioned by alobar above was not accompanied by a commensurate reduction in calories. So, assuming it's true, it's not just junk food you have to worry about -- we're turning our fruits and veggies into empty calories, too!
[User Picture]
From:teaotter
Date:August 20th, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
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For adult women, I believe it's 1800 calories. There are some variations for size and frame, but for comparison -- 1200 calories/day was what they put me on as a diet when I was 11.
[User Picture]
From:mindstalk
Date:August 20th, 2009 05:42 pm (UTC)
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3 servings of fruit at ~ 60 calories each = 180 calories.
4 servings of vegetables at ~ 10 calories each = 40 calories. Add 20 for the carrot.

6 servings of grain is like 720 calories. One slice of bread or half a cup of cooked pasta is a serving.
[User Picture]
From:kadath
Date:August 20th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)
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1200 calories? UN subsistence is 1800 calories. I'm sure there are some women out there whose metabolism and activity levels mean they can get by healthily on 1200 calories a day, but no way is it the average.
[User Picture]
From:mindstalk
Date:August 20th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
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Not realistic? If you have one serving each of fruit and vegetables at each of 3 meals, that's 6 servings right there.
[User Picture]
From:hasufin
Date:August 20th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)
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Well, yes. Not realistic. Perhaps we have different ideas of realism here... but I'm pretty sure what you're describing isn't it. Many people don't even eat a real breakfast - no servings there. And getting more than one serving of fruit or vegetable in a lunch is pretty unlikely in most cases... so the realistic expectation is more like 3-4 servings. 7-9 servings is about twice or thrice what most people are going to manage.
[User Picture]
From:mindstalk
Date:August 20th, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC)
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Lunch: one piece of fruit, plus a carrot. That's two. A good dinner can easily have multiple servings of vegetables. And yeah, some people don't eat breakfast... but they should? Eating two meals a day isn't normal for most cultures, I think. And if you're eating two meals, those are big meals, with room for produce.
[User Picture]
From:hasufin
Date:August 20th, 2009 05:58 pm (UTC)
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Yup. We definitely have different ideas of realistic here. Too bad.
[User Picture]
From:rjgrady
Date:August 20th, 2009 01:52 pm (UTC)
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I do pretty well. I like a lot of fruit, particularly pulpy fruits like plums and oranges. But my diet is fairly non-standard; lots of fruit, some whole grain breads, and pretty heavy on meat and dairy. I eat a good deal less starch than most people, but I do have a weakness for sodas.

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