Paper Example on Dietary Analysis

Published: 2021-07-29
1714 words
7 pages
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University of California, Santa Barbara
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A well-supplemented diet is paramount to the health and fitness of an individual. However, in many cases, people have various encounters that make them fail to consume proper meals. As a result of these deficiencies, people develop various deficiency diseases that may make their lives miserable. Therefore, there is the need to ensure that individuals take balanced diets that will help in maintaining their health. In this case study, Sandra has a hectic life that leaves her with poor dietary choices that have resulted with fatigue and postmenstrual syndrome (PMS). As such, there was the need to analyze the nutrient insufficiencies in Sandras diet, the possible antinutrients available, and then recommend dietary inclusions that would help her recover from the current health status.

Nutrient Insufficiencies and Antinutrients Related to Tiredness and PMS

Nutrient Insufficiencies

Tiredness, also referred to as fatigue, is a general body exhaustion that occurs as a result of lack of energy or strength. Fatigue may result from overwork, insufficiency of sleep, failure to exercise, and most importantly nutritional deficiency. In the case of Sandra, the fatigue is associated with her poor dietary intake as well as her busy daily schedule. On the other hand, Sandra also suffers from PMS which affects her both emotionally and physically. However, these problems have been aggravated by Sandra's inadequate dietary intake.

Mineral insufficiencies are one of the identifiable causes of fatigue. According to Joustra, Minovic, Janssens, Baker, and Rosmalen (2017), the three minerals associated with fatigue are potassium, iron, and magnesium. By reflecting on Sandras dietary analysis, it is clear that she has lower than the recommended intakes of the three minerals. More precisely, her potassium, iron, and magnesium intakes measure up to 2425mg, 12.3mg, and 215mg respectively which are all below the recommended levels. Iron is required in the body for hemoglobin production that is responsible for the transportation of oxygen. Therefore, the lack of adequate oxygen transportation leads to the overall feeling of body tiredness. On the other hand, the deficiency in magnesium and potassium leads to the muscle aches and tenderness that contribute to fatigue.

Furthermore, tiredness and PMS are also caused by the vitamin deficiencies. The vitamins associated with fatigue include B12 and folic acid. According to Sandras dietary analysis, she consumes far below the recommended amount of folic acid. That is, instead of consuming 300-600ug, her intake measures at 256ug. Besides, PMS is also associated with the low levels of Vitamin D as reported by Obeidat, Alchalabi, Abdul-Razzak, and Al-Farras (2012). In Sandras case, it can be observed that she has an acute shortage of Vitamin D in her diet. Vitamin D is required for maintaining good health for the bones and other essential health purposes. Therefore, its insufficiency leads to the general feeling of tiredness.

Additionally, it is also recommended that women with PMS should avoid skipping meals. Instead, the individuals should ensure that they eat regularly. However, as seen in Sandras case, she barely eats breakfast and also buys something to eat for her lunch. The only time she tries to prepare a good meal is in the evening. Furthermore, Sandra opts to use caffeine alcohol, and chocolate to help her throughout her busy day. In fact, Sandras alcohol intake surpasses the recommendable limits by far. Rather than consuming a maximum of 12g, Sandra's consumption is recorded at 26g which is more than double the set limits which worsen her condition.

Sandras energy levels are also lower than the recommended capacities. Fatigue and PMS are associated with the shortness in the levels of energy in the body. Sandra's calorie intake stands at 1679kcal which is below the targeted 1697kcal. This energy insufficiency may be associated with the fact that Sandra's carbohydrate consumption falls acutely below the required amount. Sandra consumes 180g rather than the least recommendable amount of 204g.

It is also possible that Sandra's fatigue and PMS are worsened by the inadequacy of non-starch polysaccharides (NSP). NSP or fiber, are dietary inclusions that are not absorbed into the body and also lack any nutritional value but remain essential to the digestion process (Jones, 2014). Therefore, the insufficiency in NSP may alter the efficiency of digestion in the production of energy which leads to fatigue. Consequently, the lack of energy in the body leads to the cases of body weakness. The lack of an improved diet by Sandra continues to impact negatively on her body which is exhibited by the fatigue. Therefore, to rectify her condition, Sandra may need to increase her NSP intake.

AntinutrientsAntinutrients are artificial or natural compounds that are found in various foods, and they interfere with the absorption of vitamins and minerals among other nutrients. Furthermore, antinutrients have also been identified as inhibitors of digestive enzymes that are essential for proper absorption of nutrients (Bora, 2014). The primary sources of antinutrients include grains, beverages, and legumes. Many seed foods contain these antinutrients that act as a means of repellant against pests and other predators which enables the seeds to live and reproduce. Nonetheless, there exist some beneficial antinutrients, but these need to be consumed in controlled amounts. However, depending on the consumer, these antinutrients may be helpful or harmful to the digestive process. In Sandras case study, the antinutrients may be responsible for the low intake of nearly all the minerals and vitamins.

One category of the antinutrients that can be found in Sandras case is flavonoids. These anti-nutrients are found in whole plant foods, various vegetables, and in beverages. In this case, Sandra frequently takes alcohol, coffee, and chocolate throughout the day. These drinks are highly concentrated with flavonoids which inhibit the absorption of minerals and vitamins. While flavonoids from plants may not pose any threat, those gotten from artificial sources impair the digestive process, more so, during the absorption phase (Bora, 2014).

Another classification of the antinutrients that is likely to be found in Sandras diet is gluten. Some of Sandras food that may contain high levels of gluten include chocolate brownies, white toast, cornflakes, and lager. Gluten has been established as a problematic plant-protein to digest and is an enzyme inhibitor that ends up causing gastrointestinal discomforts. Persons can be severely affected by gluten and become critically allergic. However, some may only experience other generic side-effects such as joint pains, fatigue, and headaches (Bora, 2014). Therefore, Sandras fatigue can be linked as an effect of the gluten presence in the foods that she eats.

What Foods Would you Include in Sandras Diet and Why?

Dietary Inclusion

Given the fact that Sandra is a vegetarian despite eating fish occasionally, it is essential to ensure that the foods introduce do not sway her from being vegan. Furthermore, various other factors such as her culture and other dietary restrictions must be put into consideration. The nutritional recommendations should help her recover from her current unhealthy lifestyle. The fact that her husband is supportive of her decision to change her diet should be a motivation to Sandra.

Considering the low levels of carbohydrates intake by Sandra, there is the need to increase her daily consumption of the same. Form the analysis of her dietary intake, the only foods that are sources of carbohydrates in Sandras meals are white toast, cornflakes, and crisps. To make matters worse, these are all processed foods that, according to Tvrzicka, Kremmyda, Stankova, and Ales (2011), have low carbohydrate levels. Therefore, there is the need to include natural and healthy sources of carbohydrates in her food. While milk may serve as a whole meal and a good source of the carbs, it cannot be included in Sandra's meals because of her vegan restrictions. Therefore, suitable dietary inclusions may consist of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. She can take the grains, in the form of cereals, in the morning and eat fruits as her morning and evening snacks. Vegetables can be included when preparing her evening meals. These will also be beneficial in boosting her mineral and vitamin levels including magnesium. Potassium, and folic acid.

Additionally, Sandras diet is short of fiber intake which necessitates the inclusion of foods with a lot of fiber. Sandras only sources of fiber are white rice, apples, and salad. However, white rice lacks the proper amounts of fiber that guarantee proper digestion. Therefore, given that the fiber is mostly sourced from plants, it should be easy to include some of these sources in Sandras diet to ensure that she has enough NSP. Jones (2014) recommended that vegetables and fruits that have high NSP include mangoes, bananas, dark-colored vegetables, and potatoes. Furthermore, brown rice and whole grains are also good sources of fiber. Therefore, rather than having tea and chocolates for snacks, Sandra should eat some of these fruits. During the lunch hours, having some brown rice and vegetables would also be of great health benefit. The increase in fiber intake will help in the rectification of Sandras

Sandra also has a deficiency of monounsaturated fats. Her daily intake is registered at 22g rather than the recommended 25-38g. Therefore, there is the need to include various sources of these nutrients. The primary sources of monounsaturated fats include avocado, sunflower oil, nuts, canola oil, and peanut butter and oil. However, by taking a look at Sandra's diet schedule, the only sources of monounsaturated fats are vegetables and salad. Therefore, Sandra can use peanut butter during her snack time and make a healthy sandwich. On the other hand, rather than using vegetable oil for preparing her meals, Sandra can use sunflower or canola oil to boost her monounsaturated fat levels in her diets.


Obeidat, B. A., Alchalabi, H. A., Abdul-Razzak, K. K., & Al-Farras, M. I. (2012).Premenstrual symptoms in dysmenorrheic college students: prevalence and relation tovitamin D and parathyroid hormone levels. International journal of environmentalresearch and public health, 9(11), 4210-4222.

Bora, P. (2014). Anti-nutritional factors in foods and their effects. Journal of Academia andIndustrial Research, 3(6), 285-290.

Jones, J. M. (2014). CODEX-aligned dietary fiber definitions help to bridge the fibergap.' Nutrition Journal, 13(1), 34.

Joustra, M. L., Minovic, I., Janssens, K. A., Bakker, S. J., & Rosmalen, J. G. (2017). Vitaminand mineral status in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia syndrome: Asystematic review and meta-analysis. PloS one, 12(4), e0176631.

Tvrzicka, E., Kremmyda, L. S., Stankova, B., & Ales, Z. (2011). Fatty acids asbiocompounds: their role in human metabolism, health, and diseasea review. Part 1:classification, dietary sources, and biological functions. Biomedical Papers, 155(2), 117-130.


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