Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Food, Energy, and Nutrition

St. Mike's likes to host a number of speakers every week concerning a variety of academic areas. There are a number of health speakers that come on campus and either do demonstrations, big lectures (Paul Farmer came last year!) or small lectures (various speakers from universities around the country, a number of health care professionals, etc). I went to a more recent discussion on Food, Energy, and Nutrition-How to Eat Healthy on a College Diet-this lecture was given by Sumra S. Harper-Deas, who is a registered dietician, UVM graduate. I will try to sum up her presentation for everyone because I found it to be very useful, especially when she talked about http://www.mypyramid.gov/ which I will talk about towards the end.

Nutrients include:

1. Proteins
2. Fats
3. Carbohydrates
4. Vitamins
5. Minerals
6. Water
  • Critical component of all tissues in the human body (bones, blood, hormones, connective tissues, etc.)
  • Enables growth, repair, and maintenance of body tissues
  • Energy source, when there is inadequate energy being provided by carbs and fat
How much Protein is enough Protein?
Most Americans actually eat much more protein than they need.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)- 0.8g protein/kg body weight/day
(160 lb person needs 58g protein/day)
Total Daily Energy Intake (TDEI)- 12-20%
Keep in mind that athletes, children, teenagers, and pregnant women need more

Foods with Proteins

Meats (high quality source), poultry, seafood, dairy products, eggs (big one), legumes and beans (high quality sources), whole grains, nuts

In college, you can easily make rice and beans, pea soup and toast, whole wheat pasta and cheese, cheese sandwich, hummus wraps, etc.

Lipids (fats)
  • Major, major source of energy and it is stored in our bodies for later use since it is so essential
  • Great for the brain's communication network
  • Helps to transport vitamins throughout the body
  • Not all fat is good fat! A Big Mac=BAD FAT, Olive Oil=GOOD FAT
  • Consuming fat makes you feel full, which is a good thing.
  • You get twice as much energy from fats than you do from proteins or carbs
  • Takes longer to digest, so we feel fuller longer
  • Helps suppress your appetite
  • Eating a low fat diet usually results in eating MORE calories
Types of Lipids:

Saturated fats-okay, but consume in moderation, may contribute to heart disease
butter, whole milk, beef, coconut oil, cheese
Unsaturated fats-good, may protective against heart disease
olive oil, nuts, canola oil, seafood
Essential Fatty Acids-unsaturated fats that should are "essential" for a healthy diet

Hydrogenated Fats-bad, bad, bad.

How much Fat?
Total Daily Energy Intake- 20-35%

  • Provide the body fuel necessary to physical activity
  • Helps with normal organ function
  • Help protect against chronic disease
  • Good for your eyes!
  • Fuel for the brain
  • Helps control weight gain
  • Helps decrease cancer risk and heart disease risk
  • Provides quick energy!
Foods with Good Carbs:
Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans
Try to avoid "Bad" Carbs-such as white bread, white rice, sugary soda, pastries, etc. and instead choose whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta, oats, and quinoa.

How many Carbs?
Total Daily Energy Intake-60%

This is a lot of information! But very useful in planning out your daily meals and snacks. Some preparation and thought is necessary in order to eat well balanced meals with all of the necessary and suggested nutrients.

Check out mypyramid.gov for a lot more information-this website is completely customizable to you and will give you personal suggestions based on information you provide. It is actually pretty cool.


  1. This is a lot of information! But very useful in planning out your daily meals and snacks

  2. This is a lot of information! But very useful in planning out your daily meals and snacks