Exercise 2: Diet Analysis

This lab activity will require you to log your food intake and compare it to your dietary needs. Attention will be paid to energy balance, deficiencies and excesses, and analysis of particular foods and beverages that are consumed. If you prefer not to report on yourself, you can select a friend or relative to use as a study subject.


Compiling a dietary log

You will be documenting lists of food and beverages consumed during three typical days. They do not need to be consecutive. It’s best to avoid days during which you did not feel well, slept too much or too little, or went to a party or other event during which your consumption was atypical.

List everything other than water and other non-caloric beverages. Be very careful to document portion sizes accurately. Serving sizes listed for your review are tiny by many people’s judgement; you will have to multiply values for much of what you have on your lists.

Estimating your energy needs

Your Estimated Energy Requirement (EER) is the number of Calories per day that you need to support your basic body metabolism. It is influenced by your height, weight, age, gender, and general level of physical activity.

When we consciously exercise, for example, go to the gym, swim in the ocean, or play tennis, those activities increase the number of Calories that you expend. These activities are not included in your EER.

Website support

You can search for the nutritional content of various foods using the food search link on the My Fitness Pal website.

When you register on the website and enter basic information about yourself, you will be informed of an estimate of what your daily caloric need is. This is equivalent to your EER.

Other required information

You will select three key nutrient categories to track, in addition to Calories. Use your textbook to find RDA values for the nutrients that you select.

For example, you can track fiber, saturated fats, vitamin C, calcium, or iron. Vitamins and minerals are probably the most interesting and enlightening to track.

What to include in your report

Basic Personal Information

This includes height, weight, age, gender, and overall level of normal daily activity. These are the values that will be entered when you register on:

Prominently display the number of daily Calories that are estimated for the subject’s EER. Provide the RDA amounts for the three selected nutrients for comparison.

Three full days of all food and beverages consumed

List everything consumed, with the exception of water and other non-caloric beverages. Serving sizes must be included. Indicate if you do drink non-caloric beverages throughout the day, so I know that you didn’t merely forget to list drinks.

For each item on the list, include calories and three specific nutrients that you have selected to track.

Separate the things you ate and drank by day and display neatly in three tablesInclude daily totals for Calories and the three selected nutrients for each day

Average the values for Calories and selected nutrients for the three days. DO NOT ADD EXTRANEOUS INFORMATION. You need to customize your own tables and not use the ones from the website.


How does your average number of Calories consumed per day compare to the EER?

How do each of the selected nutrients consumed compare to RDAs?

What is the predicted health impact, over time, of any discrepancies that you note?

Use your textbook to check on specific deficiency and excess symptoms associated with your nutrients.

Scan the list of foods and beverages for nutrient analysis.

What items on your list surprised you?

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