As part of the Course Food and Consumer at JAMK University of Applied Sciences in Jyväskylä, I worked on the assignment called “Nutrition Food Diary.” For seven days, I listed out everything I ate or drank. After that, I calculated my energy and nutrient intake by using “Fineli database” and I compared my results with the official recommendations. The purpose of that assignment was to reflect our eating habits, compare the results with official recommendations and think about the impact of our food choices on the environment. The results of my food diary look shortly as follows:
Energy intake: 1443 kcal
Nutrient intake: 59 g fat, 62 g protein, 152 g carbohydrate, 4813 mg salt
Energy intake: 1329 kcal
Nutrient intake: 46 g fat, 66 g protein, 149 g carbohydrate, 1845 mg salt
Nutrient intake: 1448 kcal
Energy intake: 56 g fat, 48 g protein, 172 g carbohydrate, 3362 mg salt
Energy intake: 1374 kcal
Nutrient intake: 72 g fat, 56 g protein, 113 g carbohydrate, 2934 mg salt
Energy intake: 1130 kcal
Nutrient intake: 38 g fat, 45 g protein, 143 g carbohydrate, 4263 mg salt
Energy intake: 1563 kcal
Nutrient intake: 34 g fat, 51 g protein, 190 g carbohydrate, 4681 mg salt
Energy intake: 1829 kcal
Nutrient intake: 80 g fat, 64 g protein, 192 g carbohydrate, 5280 mg salt
According to the official recommendations, the dietary reference intake for fat in adults is between 44 grams to 77 grams of fat per day if a person eats 2,000 calories a day. My daily intake of fat is in the recommended extent. Next, men should consume approximately 56 g of proteins a day, women 45 g a day. My consumption of proteins is higher than recommended. The smallest amount of carbohydrates which should be consumed each day is 130 grams. Regarding this aspect, I should increase the amount of carbohydrates in my diet and consume more fruits and vegetables as well as milk and nuts since these are common sources of naturally occurring carbohydrates. Finally, World Health Organization recommends that adults consume less than 5 g of salt per day. My intake of salt is again within this amount.
With reference to the energy intake, estimated needs for adults range from 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day for women and 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day for men. My daily energy intake is a little bit lower than recommended which is related to the fact that my portions are not too big. Thus, the energy intake is lower.
To conclude, our eating choices impact the environment greatly. When we change our eating habits it may be one of the most effective ways to preserve the environment. For instance, globalization has made it possible to find foods from overseas in our supermarket every day.
Transportation of food across the country, rather than buying food from local farmers, harms the environment. Eating locally and seasonally reduces the carbon footprint – the greenhouse gas emission produced by growing, rearing, farming, transporting, storing, cooking and disposing of the food we eat – by minimizing emissions from transport. Products which have the highest carbon footprint include meat, cheese and eggs. On the other hand, fruit, vegetables, beans and nuts have much lower carbon footprints.
Some ways how to reduce the carbon footprint are e. g. healthy vegetarian diet, eating organic food, saving water, recycling and shopping locally. Changing the foods we eat can have a big impact on the carbon footprint. Moreover, it would reduce pollution, preserve the environment and slow global warming which is a big issue nowadays.
I would recommended the similar kind of task to everyone since it helped me to reflect my eating habits and to learn more about the environmental impact of my food choices. Moreover, it was very interesting to see the official recommended numbers published by prestigious organizations and compare them with my results.
Text: Veronika Jánová, JAMK exchange student from The Czech Republic