fiber

Deficiency

I got a great comment from a reader, Katie, about my post about the Cron-o-Meter. Here is her comment:

“I’m really happy you published this. I would never have known about it otherwise. I’ve been using it for about 5 days now and really like it. In addition to being a good weight management tool, it’s excellent for figuring out where nutrition needs to improve. Within a few days, I found out that I’m not getting anywhere near the potassium or vitamin D I need each day. Now that I know, I can fix it. Yay!”

I was happy to read that she liked the website and was finding a lot of value in it. But her comment also reminded me that I wanted to write a follow-up post about what I’ve also learned about my eating habits. I know where I need work in terms of the basics: I eat too many carbs, I don’t drink enough water, and I need to cut down on my sugar intake.

Beyond that, I wanted to know what I was deficient in. I try to eat a fairly balanced diet. My snacks are fresh fruit, I eat a lot of veggies. What works for me is high protein meals, and I do pretty well in staying within my calorie range each day. But what was my diet lacking?

The following info is just to give you an idea of what I learned and where I’m deficient.

Day One

This example does not include the Multi-Vitamin I take with breakfast. I wanted to see what I was naturally low in just with the food I eat every day. The conclusion:

Low in Vitamin C

Low in Vitamin E

Low in Vitamin K

Low in Potassium

 

Energy: 2379 (2030 net) kcal / 1693 kcal (141%)
Protein: 121.3 g / 46.0 g (264%)
Carbs: 288.8 g / 130.0 g (222%)
Fat: 68.9 g / 65.0 g (106%)
95% of Nutritional Targets Achieved

 

Day Two

Low in Potassium

Low in Vitamin K

Low in Fiber

 

Energy: 1918 (1167 net) kcal / 1693 kcal (113%)
Protein: 94.5 g / 46.0 g (205%)
Carbs: 195.4 g / 130.0 g (150%)
Fat: 87.5 g / 65.0 g (135%)
95% of Nutritional Targets Achieved

Day Three

This day includes the Vitamin B and Multi-Vitamin I take. Even taking those vitamins, I’m still low!

Low in Potassium

 

Energy: 2083 (1344 net) kcal / 1693 kcal (123%)
Protein: 99.9 g / 46.0 g (217%)
Carbs: 194.5 g / 130.0 g (150%)
Fat: 102.9 g / 65.0 g (158%)
97% of Nutritional Targets Achieved

 

Conclusion

First, the site is awesome and I love how in-depth it is with the information. I see patterns in my tracking and it made me rethink some of the stuff I’m eating. Yes, I know I eat a lot of carbs. Some of that is from all the fruit I eat–which I won’t be changing. Second, I’m happy that my “Nutritional Targets” were all pretty high. For the most part, my nutrients were fulfilled. Now on to the deficiencies.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K aids in blood clotting, protects the heart, and helps to build bones.

Vitamin K is found in green, leafy, vegetables like kale, collards, spinach, and turnip greens. It can also be found herbs, scallions, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage and prunes. I eat a lot of salads and broccoli, so I’m actually surprised that I’m low in this. But it could just be that I’m not accurately recording the volume that I eat those things.

Potassium

Potassium is an essential nutrient used to maintain fluid and electrolyte balances in the body. A deficiency in potassium causes fatigue, irritability, and hypertension. This definitely makes sense to me!

Potassium rich foods are: avocados, apricots, bananas, prunes, raisins, pistachios, seeds (pumpkin, flax, etc), fish, beans, dates, chocolate, paprika and chili powder.

I used to eat a lot of bananas, but stopped eating them so often because of the high sugar content. I do eat a lot of fish and beans, so I’m surprised that I am deficient in Potassium. I also take a medication that can alter potassium levels in my body and I have to have an annual blood test to make sure my Potassium levels aren’t too HIGH. So this one makes me think it’s not a big issue.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E can help protect against heart disease, cancer, and age related eye diseases.

Foods rich in Vitamin E are sunflower seeds, almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, apricots, cooked spinach (yuck), herbs and green olives (martini anyone?).

I eat a lot of nuts but probably not a sufficient amount on a routine basis. I’m pretty hit or miss on how often I eat nuts–it’s usually just a “grab a handful at work to snack on” kind of thing.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a magical vitamin I think. It aids in developing scar tissue, blood vessels, cartilage, and dopamine. It’s a powerful antioxidant and in my line of work I need all the vitamin C I can get to keep from getting sick all the time!

The foods highest in Vitamin C are chili peppers, guavas, bell peppers, dark leafy greens (like kale and mustard greens), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kiwis, oranges, and strawberries. YUM! It’s all foods I love to eat!

Fiber

I’ve raved about fiber many times before. It’s an awesome thing when you’re trying to lose weight because you feel full! Fiber helps with proper digestion of foods, proper functioning of the digestive tract at large, and for helping you feel full.

Fiber rich foods are beans (YAY!), dark chocolate (sign me up!), bran, flax seeds, sesame seeds, sun-dried tomatoes, nuts, leafy green foods (mustard greens, kale), and squash.

The Verdict

I need to start eating kale, apparently.

I also want to buy a digital scale to measure some of the veggies and things I’m eating. Part of me thinks that I am actually getting enough nutrients–I’m just not measuring correctly.

QUESTION: Are you deficient in anything and if so, what? What foods are you trying to eat daily to make sure you aren’t deficient?

It’s Making You Hungrier

In my journey to understand more about food science and the body I’ve discovered that there are certain foods that almost always make me hungrier when I eat them. This baffled me because food is supposed to satiate. So what is wrong?

The biggest culprit for me was bananas. As a runner I was eating bananas a lot. I’ve always loved bananas and as a runner I ate them to prevent muscle cramps. I also discovered that I would crash really hard when I ate them. I had no idea WHY I’d be ravenous after eating a banana until sometime told me it was the sugar. Huh. Interesting.

So what’s the story?

Sugar

Sugar makes people hungrier–period. My doctor’s been telling me for years that sugar should be limited as much as possible. It’s something I struggle with. I want to cut out sugar from my diet but it’s hard.


Diet soda has recently been in the news as being worse for dieters. ” ‘Artificial sweeteners could have the effect of triggering appetite but unlike regular sugars they don’t deliver something that will squelch the appetite,’ said Sharon Fowler, obesity researcher at UT Health Science Center at San Diego.”

For people trying to make better choices by choosing diet, it’s frustrating to hear that diet soda could be worse than regular soda. I suppose the answer is to just cut out soda, right? I’ve found that I really enjoy sparkling water a lot. It gives me that “soda” feeling without chemicals and sugar.


High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) has been in the news lately too. According to most things I’ve read it’s basically the scourge of the world–making everyone fat. According to scientists, HFCS does weird things to the body. It interferes with your normal metabolism and makes it hard to stop eating! A sad fact: it seems that most processed foods contain HFCS too. Is it impossible to avoid? I don’t know.

Carbs

My go-to snacks were often carb-based. I ate a lot of bread, crackers, cookies, etc. If I was hungry, my first stop was for something with carbs. I realized that I was eating a LOT of calories for something that wasn’t going to stay in my stomach and keep me full for long. White sugar and flour have no fiber or nutrients in them and it causes a huge crash for most people.


I also find that if I don’t eat bread for awhile, I stop craving it. I don’t miss it. But as soon as I start eating bread again my body craves it.

Chewing Gum

Chewing gum stimulates the gastric juices and produces saliva. The body thinks there’s food about to enter the stomach so it makes you feel hungry. All this time I’ve been chewing gum to distract me from mindless snacking may have been detrimental in my struggle with snacking. Who knew?

No Roughage

I ate a lot of frozen dinners (Smart Ones, Lean Cuisines) when I was trying to lose 100 pounds because it was easy and portion controlled. Well apparently frozen meals aren’t that great for you (duh, I realized that pretty early on but still ate them) for a lot of reasons. They are high in sodium and don’t really have much fiber in them. Fiber is so important in a balanced diet (especially when trying to lose weight) because it fills you up.

For example, the one reason the Slow Carb Diet was successful for Michael (losing over 20 pounds) was because of the insane amount of beans we were eating. Beans are packed with fiber and fill you up.

Eating Real Food

As you can see, making your food choices is way more important than you think. When I go to eat a snack, or make a meal, I often ask myself now if it will fill me up. Are the calories worth it? If I’m going to eat this meal for 500 calories, will I be satisfied? Or hungry an hour later?

QUESTION: Do you find that certain foods you eat make you hungrier? Do you still eat them?