Q. Can I get all the vitamins and minerals I need from the food I eat?
A. it is possible to obtain an adequate amount of every nutrient through food. It’s not easy, though, and requires both planning and taking number of calories from nutrients rich sources each day.
What we now consider optimal amounts of some nutrients such as vitamin E however, is impossible to attain through a normal diet. Even if you are eating plenty of vitamin e rich vegetables oils and nuts a diet of about 2500 calories a day would provide at most 40 to 50 international units or IU of vitamin E some trace minerals researchers also contend that ideal amounts of trace minerals. Such as chromium are impossible to obtain through diets containing fewer than 4000 to 500 calories a day.
Q. So how much I eat each day make big difference in whether I get all the vitamins and minerals I need?
A. it does, along with the foods you select to eat. Most nutritionist agree if you eat fewer than 1800 to 200 calories a day you have likely to get all the vitamins and minerals you need even with carefully planned diet. In fact you are likely to get less of many vitamins and minerals than you need. This is one reason why many diet programmes today recommend more calories and about hour’s worth of exercise a day to burn about 300 calories.
Q. So I need to get certain quantity of food. But what about quality? What foods should I eat make sure I get vitamin and minerals I need?
A. first and foremost, nutrition experts stress the importance of eating a varied diet once that curious foods form all the food groups and the within those groups a creative mix that broadens your range of selection from apples to kiwi fruit, kohlrabi cabbage stem to yams.
Q. food groups! I have heard that there are four basic food groups. But I don’t remember what they are. Also, I haven’t these groups been replaced by something different?
A. The basic four food groups were dietary guideline developed by US department of Agriculture and taught many years in American and British schools. The four groups were milk, meat, vegetables and fruit and cereals. More recently this began to seem not such a good idea because it put too much emphasis on high fat meats and dairy products. When nutritionist became aware of health benefits of a high fiber grain and vegetable based diet the basic four ideas was abandoned and replaced by new teaching tool called the food pyramid. This provides new and better guidelines and also organized in the US.
Q. What are these new guidelines?
A. The new guidelines break into six groups and recommend you eat certain number of helpings from sweets group which they suggest you use sparingly. These guidelines are represented by the Food pyramid.
Q. What is considered a single serving?
A. For milk, yoghurt and cheese 1 cup of milk or yogurt 1 ½ oz of natural cheese or 2 oz of processed cheese. For meat 2 to 3 oz of cooked lean meat, fish poultry, 1 to 1 ½ cupfuls of cooked dry beans, 2 to 3 eggs and 4 to 6 tablespoons of peanut butter. For vegetables 1 cupful of raw, leafy vegetables ½ cupful of other vegetables or ¾ of cup of vegetable juice for fruit: 1 medium apple, banana or orange ½ a cupful of chopped or tinned fruit ¾ a cupful of fruit juice. For bread, cereal and pasta, 1slice of bread 1 oz of ready to ear cereal, or ½ cup of cooked cereal, rice or pasta
Q. What about other guidelines? Haven’t other sources also issued guidelines on how to eat?
A. yes. Several sets of guidelines exist, but they are all pretty much the same. The British Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food have produced a reference book called Manual of Nutrition which also offers these general recommendations.
• Eat variety of foods
• Maintain healthy weight
• Choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.
• Choose a diet of plenty of vegetables, fruits and grain products.
• Use sugar and salt only in moderation.
• If you drink alcoholic beverages do so in moderation.
Q. Why does the government feel it needs to tell people what to eat? Don’t we eat quite well, at least compared to with most countries?
A. People in Western world certainly have the opportunity what more food than people in many countries but that doesn’t mean they are eating well. Eating too much, especially of fats sugar, salt and calories has been linked with many of the chronic diseases to which we are particularly prone. And because so much public expenditure goes on the NHS the government o doubt feels it is its best interest to get people to eat more wisely.
Q. How do the British eat?
A. very badly, for the most part, according to the latest studies on the subject. Very few of us indeed are keeping our dietary fat intake below 30 per cent of total calories and only about a quarter of us get more than two thirds of all recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals. No single age, gender or racial minority group eats particularly well. And several groups appear to have their own unique dietary vices: alcohol for young men too few calories and nutrients for young women.
Western high fat diets are linked with in adequate vitamin and minerals intake because fats add a lot of calories to diet but provide essentially no vitamins or minerals. Only vegetables oil provide some vitamin E, A recent study that looked vitamin E intake showed that most people get their vitamin E from fat laden pies and baked goods although a small percentage of people get large amounts of vitamin E and other vitamins and minerals from fortified breakfast cereals.
Q. So food is the best way of getting us our vitamins and minerals, its obvious we don’t eat enough of the right foods to ward off deficiency problems? What the other ways can we meet our vitamin and minerals need?
A. One source is through enriched and fortified foods. And that’s subject of our next chapter.