The discussion of energy and macronutrient intake considers different aspects of the topic like diet quality and features choices that promote a healthy lifestyle. This part of the essay will compare my energy intake and recommended intake and evaluate the deficiency or excessiveness of each macronutrient. The essay will also use the assessment of macronutrient intake as a base for discussion and suggestions of dietary changes targeted to improve the intake of macronutrients.
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Firstly, comparing the intake data to the daily recommended intake showed that the current intake amount of protein (139.72 g) exceeds the recommended amount (64.59 g) more than two times. Comparing the carbohydrate intake amounts to the daily recommended intake indicated deficiency of carbohydrate with 221.18 g of actual intake and 240.86-347.91g being the recommended amount. The intake of fat fits in the section of the daily recommended amount, with 68.78 g being the actual intake and 47.58 to 83.26 g being the recommended amount. Although the current level of fat intake fits the daily recommended intake level, according to Canada’s Dietary Guidelines (2019), the level of saturated fat intake should be less than 10% of total energy intake. As the current level of fat intake composes around 15% of daily intake, the diet might need minor changes just to reduce the saturated fat intake level. Food rich in saturated fat is typically found in animal-based foods, like cream, cheese, and in some vegetable oils like coconut milk and could be replaced with unsaturated fat or lower-fat alternatives.
In addressing the excessive amount of protein, one should consider the fact that excess protein in the organism is usually stored as fat. Canada’s Dietary Guidelines (2019) recommend introducing plant-based proteins to daily life to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Although the current level of protein intake corresponds to the norms of energy intake, the balance of carbohydrates being the main source of energy is lightly turned to the side of proteins. Thus, it is necessary to make the protein intake level lower and increase the level of carbohydrates. However, evidence demonstrates the benefits of consuming higher than recommended protein intakes for weight loss and improving athletic performance (Hector & Phillips, 2018). Although the current diet does not need drastic changes in protein intake, it is still important to add plant-based proteins to the diet, as they can positively affect health.
Increasing the level of carbohydrate intake is made through the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Even without the need for an increase in carbohydrate consumption, people nowadays are constantly recommended to consume nutritious, fresh food like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains without sodium, saturated fats, and sugar. Moreover, in conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, people were encouraged to increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables to the extent of even five servings a day (de Faria Coelho-Ravagnani et al., 2020). Fruits and vegetables are major sources of elements required for the control of hypertension, diabetes, and weight gain, which were connected to COVID-19 complications (de Faria Coelho-Ravagnani et al., 2020). As the current energy intake balance is more shifted to the side of proteins, the diet needs more focus on fruits and vegetables. It does not matter whether the fruits and vegetables are fresh, canned, or frozen as long as they contain fiber and have no sugar added to them. Although sugar is also a carbohydrate source, there are no benefits from sugar intake compared to fiber that reduces the risk for cardiovascular diseases.
Micronutrients play a big part in an individual’s life, and health, deficiency, and excessive amounts of micronutrients are connected to health concerns. It is necessary for people to maintain a healthy diet and track their diet and micronutrient intake. This part of the essay will identify potential health concerns connected to my intake of micronutrients, determine how the micronutrients negatively or positively impact health, and suggest dietary changes for each micronutrient.
The micronutrient intake assessment revealed two concerns – a minor deficiency of Vitamin C intake and an excessive sodium intake. The current level of Vitamin C intake (75.45 mg) is about 83 percent of recommended intake level (90 mg), which could easily be corrected with minor alterations of the diet. A low level of vitamin C is both described as a cause and a consequence of a number of diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome (Rowe & Carr, 2020). Although Vitamin C is generally used as a marker for the level of fresh fruits and vegetable consumption, it is proved to be connected to cancer and cardiovascular diseases more than any other micronutrient (Rowe & Carr, 2020). In a recent coronavirus outbreak, the population was recommended to increase vitamin C intake as prevention and treatment for Covid-19 due to Vitamin C’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic, and immune-modulatory functions (Carr & Rowe, 2020). To prevent Vitamin C deficiency, people should consume Vitamin C on a daily basis.
As the first part of the essay already emphasized the need to regularly consume fruits to increase the carbohydrate intake, the Vitamin C intake increase is also made through the consumption of fruits and vegetables. The regular consumption of fruits is comparable to Vitamin C supplement intake in terms of effectiveness and is even encouraged more due to the presence of other nutrients that the supplements do not provide (Rowe & Carr, 2020). As the world currently experiences a prevalence of Vitamin C deficiency, especially in low and middle-income countries, several interventions are made like reduced taxes on fresh fruits and vegetables and encouragements of growing them (Rowe & Carr, 2020). Moreover, taxes are reduced for manufacturers of soft drinks high in Vitamin C. In cases where fruits and vegetables are not available, soft drinks high in vitamin C without added sugars could act as an accessible and convenient alternative.
The current amount of sodium intake, 9845 mg, exceeds the recommended amount more than six times, with 1500 mg being the recommended amount. The excessiveness comes from the fact that the human body does not need high amounts of sodium to function correctly, but people enjoy salty foods and products that use sodium as a preservative. Moreover, people frequently consume a combination of ingredients with a high amount of sodium.
For example, cheese, processed meat, dough, and a variety of sauces used in dishes like pizza and sandwiches all contain a high amount of sodium. The sodium intake is connected mainly to the work of kidneys – lowered consumption of sodium and drinking excessive amounts of water could result in diseases like hypovolemia (Baldrighi et al., 2018). On the other hand, excessive intake of sodium could lead to hypertension, heart failure, chronic kidney disease, and cardiovascular diseases (Patel & Joseph, 2020). Low—sodium diets are recommended to prevent heart failure and its’ acute symptoms (Patel & Joseph, 2020). Apart from health concerns, high sodium intake is associated with higher BMI, as people with higher BMI exceed the recommended level of the sodium consumption (Patel & Joseph, 2020). In order to lower sodium consumption, the diet needs to be altered towards neutral in salt food and reduce the consumption of savory snacks and dishes that combine a number of high in sodium ingredients. Instead, the diet might be introduced to healthy dietary snacks like dried fruits and berries.
Baldrighi, M., Sainaghi, P.P., Bellan, M., Bartoli, E., & Castello L.M. (2018). Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state: A pragmatic approach to properly manage sodium derangements. Current Diabetes Reviews, 14(6), 534-541. Web.
Carr, A. C., & Rowe, S. (2020). The emerging role of Vitamin C in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Nutrients, 12(11), 3286. Web.
de Faria Coelho-Ravagnani, C., Corgosinho, F. C., Sanches, F., Prado, C., Laviano, A., & Mota, J. F. (2021). Dietary recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nutrition reviews, 79(4), 382–393. Web.
Health Canada. (2019). Canada’s dietary guidelines for health professionals and policy makers. Web.
Hector, A. J., & Phillips, S. M. (2018). Protein recommendations for weight loss in elite athletes: A focus on body composition and performance. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 28(2), 170–177. Web.
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Patel, Y., & Joseph, J. (2020). Sodium Intake and Heart Failure. International journal of molecular sciences, 21(24), 9474. Web.
Rowe, S., & Carr, A. C. (2020). Global Vitamin C status and prevalence of deficiency: A cause for concern? Nutrients, 12(7), 2008. Web.