I came across and interesting and useful site operated by the US Department of Agriculture that I want to pass along. The site tracks food consumption and calculates for you the nutrient intake of the foods you eat in a given day, then compares them with the ‘ideal’ intake for your weight, height and age. The calculation part of the site is valuable because it shows you the nutrient breakdown of a day’s worth of food intake. The comparison part is hilarious because anyone following a low-carb diet ends up with a lot of negative emotocons.
The USDA site is free and requires only a few minutes to set it up. It requires registration with a username and password, your height, weight and age.
Just for grins, I ran my food intake for last Wednesday, the last day I followed my normal diet. (I have been involved in a project that’s kept me away from home, hearth and computer for most of the day the last couple of days, ergo my lack of posting.)
For breakfast I normally eat 3 fried eggs, 3 sausage patties, some fruit (strawberries and blueberries) and a cup of coffee. As you might imagine, after this 3-egg, 3-sausage breakfast, I’m not particularly hungry when it’s lunchtime, so I don’t usually eat lunch, but I do grab an ounce or so of nuts and a bit of hard Italian sausage around midday. I also drink several cups of Cafe Americano made with espresso throughout the day – usually one for breakfast and three more during the day. For dinner last Wednesday I had a T-bone steak, a few slices of tomato, a grilled zucchini, a glass of red wine, and some berries (strawberries and blueberries) with cream for dessert.
Now anyone would consider this day’s worth of food to be rich, hearty, flavorful and calorie dense. When I ran it through the little handy/dandy USDA site to calculate the nutrient intake, I ended up with this page.
Once I had entered all these foods and quantities, I calculated the nutrient intake, which gave me this page (this is the first of two pages):
As you can see, I ate all that food and ended up eating only 1749 Calories, which is not quite 200 Calories more than the subjects on both the Keys and the Yudkin studies ate. I’ve followed this diet for a lot longer than the 24 weeks the Keys subjects followed their ‘semi-starvation’ diet, and I can assure you that I don’t look like the guy in the bottom picture. The kind of calories one eats – not simply the number – makes an enormous difference. Notice also, that according to the USDA, I’m 727 Calories below what is required to maintain my weight as it is. If you believe the old calories in/calories out theory that tells us that 3500 calories equals a pound of fat, I should be losing a pound of fat every 4.8 days (727/3500), which, again, I am not. My weight is holding pretty steady despite this caloric deficit.
What’s interesting, though, is that if an obese person goes on this same diet, that person will lose weight like crazy. Why does the obese person lose while I don’t on the same caloric deficit? Because the obese person has a deranged metabolism, which is what makes that person obese in the first place. This diet fixes the problem, which allows the fat to be burned off instead of stored.
From this page you can see that I’m in real trouble – at least from the perspective of the pinheads at the USDA. I am the recipient of many sad-faced emotocons, which indicate that my diet is far from what the USDA considers ideal. Far from despairing over these, I’m proud of them. The government is wrong in virtually everything it does, so if it says I’m wrong, then I must be right.
And, finally, here you can see what I need to do to come into compliance with the much-beloved (at least by dietitian- and government-types) food pyramid. I’m proud of my deviant dietary behavior here, too.
This is a fun little site that can gobble up a couple of hours of time. But it is rewarding. It lets you know if you’re exceeding your carb intake. Most people who don’t do well on low-carb diets, don’t do well because they don’t really follow a low-carb diet. Many people who think they’re following a low-carb diet really aren’t. Plug a day’s worth of meals and snacks into this calculator and if the government tells you your diet is lousy and your page is clotted with negative emotocons, then you’re probably on a pretty good diet. The easiest way to tell is to look at the carbohydrate number on the nutrient intake calculator page. If you’re around 50 grams of carb per day or lower, you’re in good shape.
And if you are at 50 grams of carb or lower, I’ll bet that your calories are pretty low as well.