Objectives

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  1. Discuss what is considered as healthy eating
  2. List tools that can help improve healthy eating
  3. Explain what are the dietary reference intakes and how to use them
  4. Summarize the five basic principles of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
  5. Explain the role of MyPlate as a guideline for healthy eating
  6. Create a personalized daily food plan
  7. Use visual cues to estimate food measurements quickly    
  8. Identify components of a food label
  9. Describe the function of a food label
  10. Identify recent changes in the FDA nutrition label requirement  
  11. Identify and differentiate between types of label claims
  12. Give examples of phyto and zoochemicals and their function

Lesson Summary

  1. Healthy eating is a combination of eating adequate amounts of food in moderate proportions to meet the daily calorie requirement for your body weight using a variety of food types.
  2. If we eat too much we become overnourished which can lead to disease conditions such as obesity and heart disease
  3. If we eat too little we become undernourished which can lead to a weak immune system and exposure to diseases, and impairment in physical and cognitive growth
  4. Four (4) excellent tools that the US government has provided to help us make better dietary decisions are:
    • The dietary reference intakes (DRI)
    • The dietary guidelines for Americans
    • MyPlate
    • Nutrition fact label on food products  
  5. The DRI tells you how much of each nutrient you need to eat to ensure good health, avoid diseases and prevent excess. It consists of five reference values: (See the front of your text book for RDA and AI values)
    • The estimated average requirement (EAR): The amount of a nutrient estimated to meet the daily needs of only half of a given healthy population  
    • Recommended dietary allowance (RDA): The amount of a nutrient estimated to meet the daily needs of up to 98% (or almost all) of a given population   
    • Adequate intake (AI): The amount of a nutrient estimated to be adequate for the day in cases where the RDA has not been determined  
    • Upper tolerable limit (UL): The highest daily intake of a nutrient that should be allowed, in order to avoid health risks
    • Acceptable macronutrient distribution range (AMDR): The recommended range of energy-producing nutrients we should consume to maintain good health:
      • Carbs: 45-65%
      • Fats: 20-35%
      • Proteins: 10-35%
  6. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Consists of 5 big ideas
    • Follow a healthy dietary pattern throughout your life  e.g. Mediterranean style, vegetarian and the DASH (dietary approach to stop hypertension)
    • Eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods in adequate amounts e.g. fruits and vegetables instead of high-sugar foods
    • Limit calories from added sugars, saturated fats and sodium
    • Shift to healthier choices for your food and drinks
    • Help others to maintain healthy eating habits
  7. MyPlate: A visual guide on how our food types should be proportioned for good balance. It consists of:
    1. Vegetables (30%)
    2. Fruits (20%)
    3. Proteins (25%)
    4. Grains (25%)
  8. Critique of MyPlate
    • Pros
      1. Simplicity
      2. Easy visualization of food proportionality  
      3. Emphasize healthy foods that Americans don’t get enough of
    • Cons
      1. Does not give a clear picture of serving size of each component
      2. No differentiation between fruit juice and whole fruit
      3. No indication of proportion of healthy oils
      4. It suggests that milk or dairy should be consumed with every meal which is misleading
  9. How many calories do you need?
    • Determine your daily calorie requirement based on your age using Table 2.1 – How Many Calories Do You Need Daily? (Page 36)
    • Determine how calories should be proportions using Table 2.3 – How Much Should You Eat from each Food Group? (page 44)
  10. Use visual cues to identify correct portions
    • I cup: About the size of your fist or two cupped handfuls
    • ½ cup: About the amount you can hold in a cupped hand
    • 1 tablespoon: About as big as when the tip of the thumb and the tip of the forefinger touches  
    • 1 teaspoon: About the length from the tip of the thumb to the first knuckle 
    • 3 ounces (meat): About as big as the inside of your palm
  11. What is an ounce equivalent?
    1. An ounce equivalent of protein means how much of a food you need to eat to get an ounce of protein from it. One ounce equivalent from the protein group include:
      • 1 ounce of lean meat
      • 1 egg
      • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
      • ¼ cup cooked dry beans, or
      • ½ cup nuts or seeds
    2. An ounce equivalent of grains means how much of a food you need to eat to get an ounce of grain from it. One ounce equivalent from the grains group include:
      • 1 slice of bread
      • 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal
      • 1 cup cooked rice, pasta or cooked cereal
  12. Download this template and create a personalized meal plan for one day
  13. Ways to control portion size
    1. Practice to measure your food until you have a good eye for the correct portions
    2. Use smaller plates
    3. Don’t eat snacks directly from the bag or box but divide snacks into individual portions and eat only one serving at a time
    4. Read your food labels
  14. Does the time you eat impact your health? YES
    • People who skip breakfast have the tendency to eat more later in the day and end up consuming more calories than they need
    • A substantial breakfast fills the appetite and reduce tendency to overeat later on
    • Breakfast foods that are high in fiber and a good source of protein increases satiety
    • People who skip breakfast usually make poorer food choices later in the day
    • People who skip breakfast have a greater tendency to gain weight
  15. Components of a food label
    • Principal display panel: Contains product identify and net content
    • Information panel: Contains nutrition label, ingredient list (in decreasing order), and address of manufacturer, packer or distributor
  16. Functions of a food label
    • Contain product
    • Protect product
    • Market product
    • Inform consumer
  17. Nutritional label on foods tell us how much of certain nutrients we are getting per serving size. It is based on a 2000 calorie diet
  18. Percentage daily value (%DV) means the percentage of your daily nutrient requirement that you get from each serving; assuming that your body requires 2000 calories to maintain optimal health 
  19. A %DV of 5% or less on the nutrition label means that the nutrient is low per serving
  20. A %DV of 20% or more on the nutrition label means that the nutrient is high per serving
  21. FDA has made changes to the labeling regulations in regards to nutrition information on products. Effective date to implement the regulation was June 2018. Changes include:
    • Serving size bold and in larger font. It has also been updated to reflect the amount that people actually eat
    • Calories bold and in larger font
    • “Calories from fat” removed since it has been found that the type of fat consumed is more important than the amount. Furthermore, over-consumption of other nutrients such as sugars can also contribute to fat
    • “Added sugar” included. This may represent table sugar, liquid sugar or concentrates. You should aim for 10% DV or less to make sure that you are getting more of your daily calories from nutrient-dense sources such as natural fruits and vegetables
    • Vitamins A and C dropped since deficiency of these nutrients in the US is rare
    • Vitamins D and potassium added since many Americans fail to get the recommended amounts  
  22. Label claims fall under three categories
    • Nutrient content claims
    • Health claims
    • Structure/function claims
  23. Nutrient content claim: A claim that describes the level or amount of nutrients in a products e.g. describing the product as “high in fiber”, “low fat”, cholesterol free”, “no sodium”
  24. Health claim: A claim that connects a food or components of the food with a disease or disease condition
    • Authorized health claim: A claim authorized by the FDA after receiving a petition. The approval is given since there is a well-established relationship between the food or food components and a health benefit e.g. calcium and bone health, sodium and high blood pressure, fiber and cancer prevention, folate and birth defects
    • Health claim based on authoritative statements: Claims made based on a statement from a US government agency e.g. relationship between whole grains and cancer prevention, potassium and lowering of blood pressure, fluoride and tooth decay, cholesterol and heart disease
    • Qualified health claim: A health claim with a qualifying statement (disclaimer). Here is a hypothetical example: “Four studies suggests that daily consumption of guava juice may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. However, six rigorous studies involving more subjects did not find a relationship between consumption of guava juice and prostate cancer. Therefore, the FDA concludes that it is highly uncertain that guava juice reduces the risk of prostate cancer”
  25. Structure/function claim: A claim that describes how the food or food components affects the structure or function of the body without making reference to a disease or diseases condition e.g. “Probiotics improve overall digestive health”, or “calcium builds strong bones”

Key Definitions

  1. Undernutrition: Consuming less nutrients and calories than is need
  2. Overnutrition: Consuming more nutrients and calories than is needed
  3. The estimated average requirement (EAR): The amount of a nutrient estimated to meet the daily needs of only half of a given healthy population  
  4. Recommended dietary allowance (RDA): The amount of a nutrient estimated to meet the daily needs of up to 98% (or almost all) of a given population   
  5. Adequate intake (AI): The amount of a nutrient estimated to be adequate for the day in cases where the RDA has not been determined  
  6. Upper tolerable limit (UL): The highest daily intake of a nutrient that should be allowed to avoid health risks
  7. Acceptable macronutrient distribution range (AMDR): The recommended range of energy-producing nutrients that we should eat
  8. Nutrient density: The amount of nutrients per calorie in a food
  9. Energy density: The amount of calorie per weight or volume of a food
  10. Nutrient content claim: A claim that describes the level or amount of nutrients in a products e.g. describing the product as “high in fiber”, “low fat”, cholesterol free”, “no sodium”
  11. Health claim: A claim that connects a food or components of the food with a disease or disease condition
    • Authorized health claim: A claim authorized by the FDA after receiving a petition. The approval is given since there is a well-established relationship between the food or food components and a health benefit e.g. calcium and bone health, sodium and high blood pressure, fiber and cancer prevention, folate and birth defects
    • Health claim based on authoritative statements: Claims made based on a statement from a US government agency e.g. relationship between whole grains and cancer prevention, potassium and lowering of blood pressure, fluoride and tooth decay, cholesterol and heart disease
    • Qualified health claim: A health claim with a qualifying statement (disclaimer). Here is a hypothetical example: “Four studies suggests that daily consumption of guava juice may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. However, six rigorous studies involving more subjects did not find a relationship between consumption of guava juice and prostate cancer. Therefore, the FDA concludes that it is highly uncertain that guava juice reduces the risk of prostate cancer”
  12. Structure/function claim: A claim that describes how the food or food components affects the structure or function of the body without making reference to a disease or diseases condition e.g. “Probiotics improve overall digestive health”, or “calcium builds strong bones”
  13. Phytochemical: Food components in plant food sources that provide benefits beyond nutrition
  14. Zoochemical: Food components in animal food sources that provide benefits beyond nutrition

Reference: Blake S. B. (2017). Nutrition and You, 4th Edition. Hoboken, NJ: Pearson. 

Courtney Simons
Administrator
Courtney Simons is a food science professor. He holds a BS degree in food science and a Ph.D. in cereal science from North Dakota State University.
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