ate 77 kg of vegetables per person in 2003 - is that a lot?
We also increased our total caloric
intake by 1 - 3% every year for 10 years, and became more
fat each year..
Canada has released its report
on food consumption for 2003, and a popular quote from the
report in the media is, "Canadians eat 77 kg of fresh
vegetables." This sounds like a lot, but isn't much at
Canadians are eating more fruits - a good thing - the report
also states that while we are eating less margarine, the overall
consumption of fats and oils continues to rise. Fats and oils
from salad dressings, deep-fried food, and baked goods are
on the increase in both restaurant and home use. All in all,
Canadians have increased their total caloric intake every
year since 1993 by 1 - 3%. That's compound interest
you ate 2500 calories per day in '93 - by 2003 you were consuming
3047 calories per day, an increase of 547 calories per day,
averaging the percentages provided in the report to a 2% annual
increase. A person who consumed 2000 calories daily 10 years
ago would be chomping down about 2400 calories today.
is what Statistics Canada reports for daily caloric increases
over the last 26 years:
October 14, 2004 food consumption report
makes this euphemistic conclusion,
the overall increase in the consumption of food, the ingestion
of many vitamins and minerals, which play an integral part
in how well the body functions, has also increased."
seems to suggest that the measured increased caloric consumption
by Canadians may very well be healthy.
compiled by the Alberta Government makes these statements:
to Dietitians of Canada, (the average amount food consumed
in 2002) exceeds the recommended daily energy intake for
most age and gender groups", and, "Diet is
one of the factors contributing to obesity as excessive calorie
intake leads to weight gain."
Canadians have been packing on more body fat every year since
1993, could it be that the reported 1 -3% increase in calories
year-over-year for 10 years has contributed to fat gain? I
would say yes, and the above report found on an Alberta Government
web page seems to agree. The October 14, 2004 Stats Can article,
which I find to be somewhat absent minded, leans towards painting
a bright picture talking about our veggie consumption. The
media has taken this bait and is reporting only on how much
fruits and vegetables Canadians are eating:
consumption has tripled, we eat more Chinese cabbage, and
on average consumed 77 kg of fresh vegetables in 2003.
Big hairy deal. Lets get real here folks; this is nothing
to be proud of. At first wash eating 77 kg of veggies sounds
like a lot, but it is minuscule when spread out over 365 days.
In fact it amounts to only 129 calories per day from vegetables,
making up just a little over 5% of the average 2500 calorie
per day diet.
fact, according to the prior years report
(2002), Canadians ate 110 kg of vegetables in 2002, and 106
kg in 1992, so we are eating less vegetables and more fat
in 2003 than in 2002, as well as all the way back to 1992.
October 2004 report
states that nearly half of the 77 kg vegetable intake was
from potatoes. I'll round that out to 50% or 38.5 kg, which
is about the same potato consumption as 2002, meaning we ate
less of other more nutrient dense vegetables. Moreover,
the intake of potatoes includes potato chips and French fries,
as well as baked and mashed potatoes, so it's not as though
our potato intake is entirely healthy.
kg of baked potatoes is 35,805 calories, or 98 calories per
day (105 g) when spread out over one year. In terms of healthy
intake of potatoes, this is a little less than half a cup
of potatoes in one day, or about 3/4 of a small potato- not
a lot. I am being far too generous with this caloric breakdown
of potato consumption because we're not eating our potatoes
solely in the healthy baked form. Take a look at the calories
and total fat grams for the same amount of potatoes in the
form of French fries and potato chips..
(deep fried in vegetable oil)
Chips (reduced fat)
Fries at McDonald's*
Bag of Potato Chips
much of our potato intake is potato chips and fries? The report
doesn't have that magnitude of detail, but since the chips
and fries are 3 to 5 times the calories and have over 100
times(!) the fat as the same amount of baked potato, it wouldn't
take many chips and fries to make a large portion of our 77
kg "vegetable" intake to in fact represent some
of our over-consumption of fatty foods.
other half of our vegetable intake, 38.5 kg, is comprised
mostly of lettuce, onions, carrots, and tomatoes. This totals
11,454 calories, or 31 calories per day over one year. Overall
our non-potato veggie intake is far less than the average
of 7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day recommended
by the Canada
2003 one year vegetable consumption of 77 kg per person
is down from 110 kg in 2002
kg of vegetables per year is only 129 calories per day -
if we generously assume that everyone is only eating plain
baked potatoes, lettuce,
carrots, onions, and tomatoes, and some cabbage
reality is half of the 77 kg intake of vegetables includes
potatoes served also as French fries and potato chips which
have over 100 times the fat as an equal amount of baked
matter how you cut it 77 kg of vegetable intake over one
year for one person does not represent optimum healthy eating
- in fact it illustrates the opposite
again we succumb to an ignorance is bliss scenario and pat
ourselves on the back for no good reason. Eating 77 kg of
vegetables in one year does not mean we're eating better,
it means we're eating worse.
about physical activity?
While over-all physical activity is increasing in Canada (up
by 10% from 1995 to 2001), but decreasing amongst youth; according
to this report,
"..as many as 82% (youth) may not have
been active enough to meet international guidelines for optimal
growth and development."
of the population is inactive, expending less than three calories
(Kilocalorie - go here
to learn about calories) per kilogram of body mass per day.
For a 77 kg (170 lb) male this works out to expending more
than 231 calories through physical activity in one day or
about a total of 30 minutes brisk walking to escape being
labeled as "inactive" and move up to "moderately
active". A 58 kg (130 lb) female need only surpass 174
calories expended in one day to be considered "moderately
active". The activity level of our population breaks
down as follows:
than 30 minutes of walking per day
"standards" for physical activity are extremely
low. The total walking time depicted is cumulative,
meaning it includes short jaunts such as walking to
the bus stop. The standard of a walking intensity is
in fact the lowest common denominator. In practical
application this means that a person may be determined
as "active", but still be completely unfit.
minutes of walking per day
minutes of walking per day
With our "standards" for qualifying what "physically
active" is, it is a safe bet that the 20% of the population
that is categorized as "physically active" is in
fact not really that active. The percentage of the population
that is actually physically fit is most likely closer to 1%
more fat, more total calories, and less nutrient dense vegetables
inactive (majority of population)
more body fat
sure our overweight and obesity problem will eventually begin
to turn around, if not this year then hopefully in the next
5 years. How do we do this?
less fatty foods, eat less calories overall, make more of
the food we eat healthy, and exercise a little every day.
and struggling? Try these simple steps:
slightly less each day than you do now
for a 20-minute walk at least 4 times per week
is needed in the long run, but doing these two easy tasks
can be done by anyone starting right now. Eventually
a person should include 60 minutes of dedicated exercise time
almost every day, and as a person becomes more fit they would
expect to gradually increase the intensity of their exercise.
is a true reward, inactivity and overeating are not.
to calculate daily caloric needs
articles on obesity, fat loss, and exercise are found here
nutrition info from the Mcdonald's
comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org
2003-2004 Cris LaBossiere Rhino Fitness