Monday, April 1, 2013

Nutrition Analyzed

This month's Monthly Goal was shortened to a week due to having not chosen the goal early enough (go ahead and call me lazy!) and the amount of work involved.

Analyze My Nutrition

How many calories do you eat every day?  
How much protein, fat, and carbs do you eat?  
How does your current diet compare to the suggested diet for your gender, activity level, and sport?  
Are all of your meals and calories consistent throughout the day?  

If you have no idea, join the club!  I could have taken a guess as to how much I ate in a day, but I would never have been able to guess how that divided up by macronutrients (protein, fats, and carbs).  So with no clue how I was doing nutrition wise, a keen interest in knowing where the heck to start, and some scientific geek-ness in my back pocket, I did some research.

As I stated HERE earlier, I found that an endurance athlete's macronutrients should be distributed to 15-20% protein, 20-25% fat, and 60% carbs.  In order to verify that this wasn't totally off, I spoke with a registered dietician.  She admitted that each athlete can be very different and requires more details and testing to better approximate, but said that the above values are a good starting point. 

With that lined up, I took out a piece of paper and pen, stashed them on the counter in the kitchen and started writing down EVERYTHING I ate for one whole week; Saturday through Friday.  I kept track of how much I ate, the serving size, and the calories & macronutrients per serving. 

WARNING: The inner science geek is about to be unleashed.  
For the sake of brevity,
feel free to look at the pretty graphs
and browse the conclusions & thoughts. 

Caloric Intake

Weekly Average: 3710 calories
Lowest Daily Intake: 3329 calories on Wednesday (my rest day)
Highest Daily Intake: 4406 calories on Sunday (16 mile run). 

Next, I analyzed my daily caloric intake broken down by meals.

Average Breakfast: 802 calories (range: 760 - 963)
Average Lunch: 1209 calories (range: 504 - 1607)
Average Dinner: 1699 calories (range: 891 - 2623)

Macronutrient Distribution

Average Protein %age: 20 (162 g)
Average Fats %age: 36 (93 g)
Average Carbohydrates %age: 52 (557 g)

  • I currently consume an average of 3700 calories per day
  • The caloric size and range of my meals increases throughout the day (Breakfast < Lunch < Dinner)
  • Protein consumption is at the top of the recommended range; 20% in a 15-20% range.
  • Fats consumption is above the recommended range; 36% in a 20-25% range
  • Carbohydrate consumption is below the recommended value; 52% with a 60% recommendation
  • I was not surprised at the absolute value of calories.  I expected right about 3500.
  • I had expected breakfast to be the most consistent meal by calorie count.
  • I had not expected breakfast to be the smallest meal by as much of a margin as it was.
  • While I would prefer to increase the proportion of breakfast, I can't do that without pushing back my workouts. 
  • I was surprised that the protein content of my diet is not higher.  I had previously been worried it would be closer to 30% and I'd have to try and lower it.  I'm happy to find I'm fitting right in.
  • I was surprised at how high a percentage of fat is in my diet.  Due to this, I will be exploring more low fat and fat free food options in the future to see how they affect me
  • I was not surprised to find that my carbohydrate intake was low.  After having tried Paleo and cutting out a high carb meals that I had previously eaten regularly (pasta, sandwiches, etc.), I've considered my carb intake lower than normal.  However, I will try to add more carbohydrates to my meals to see how it affects me.  
  • I've already added 2 pieces of toast to breakfast and found a boost in mid-morning energy!


1.  How many calories do you eat on average?  If you haven't checked, how many do you THINK you eat?
I had guessed around 3500 and was pretty close.  I presume that value will increase to 4500 come mid-May (I may repeat the exercise at that time to check).  

2.  Do you keep track of or are you in any way concerned/weary of your macronutrient intake?
I had never been before, but this will give me a basis from which I can experiment from and have actual numbers to come back to.

3.  Who was excited to see graphs?!  Don't be shy!!
Science geek right here!

4.  How was your Easter?!
I spent the weekend with my mother and step father eating way too much food. 

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 

1 comment:

CautiouslyAudacious said...

I am usually such a numbers geek and know exactly how many calories I've taken in vs. how many I've burned for each day. But lately I can't do that. The HR monitor hasn't been working right lately I guess since it's getting confused between 2 heart rates :-) I think it's good to keep track and know these things just have to be careful not to obsess which us numbers geeks can do.