Something I have been meaning to talk about for a while now is Recommended Daily Allowances or the guidelines by which us mere mortals are meant to live our lives. These RDA’s refer to anything from Alcohol and Vitamins to Carbohydrates and Fats all of which have been scientifically tested and set by health professionals who work to specific guidelines taken from an average of individual specimens.
Or at least they have a good stab at it.
What interests me most however is the food side of things, so that is what I shall concentrate on.
An average adult’s daily allowance is:
- Calories – Male: 2500 / Female: 2000
- Protein – Male: 55gms / Female: 45gms
- Carbohydrate – Male: 300gms / Female: 230gms
- Sugars – Male: 120gms / Female: 90gms
- Fat – Male: 95gms / Female: 70gms
- Saturates – Male: 30gms / Female: 20gms
- Fibre – Male: 24gms / Female: 24gms
- Salt – Male: 6gms / Female: 6gms
We should also take on about 3.7 litres of fluids per day for a Male and 2.4 litres for a Female. However, this is not simply managed through drink alone because a great deal of our foods that we eat have a good water content so foods such as Iceberg Lettuce and Cucumbers are ideal sources of hydration.
Now as I said these are all predetermined values so I assume (this is not scientific on my behalf) must be of an average male of 5′ 10″ and 13 stone or so and an equivalent female size (one of which I will not state lest I get it wrong and upset anyone…). From my experience, I would say the above combination would be in the upper part of the “sweet zone” for a scientist and would mean that they have Mr Joe Average exactly where they want him, living on a specific amount of calories per day, taking on a recommended amount of vitamins and minerals, following his fluid intake guidelines and simply living life to the letter.
So the question then comes when you deal with someone like me. Imagine if you will, me when I was at my heaviest of 25 stone last year. I was told that a Weight Watchers program would determine that I would be able to take on 3500 calories per day and still lose weight if I didn’t over do the carbs, fats and refined sugars. Now I know that sounds weird but it was worked out on my weight, height and BMI. This immediately puts into question the RDA of calories because if I am allowed 3500 and can still lose weight then surely an active person must be allowed more than the 2500 stated and they would remain the same as they would burn off the excess calories in their exercises.
Today I am not really limited on calories by any program, I am limited by the portion size I am able to eat and this dictates my calories again as long as I stay away from the fats, refined sugars and carbs that pile the weight on so quickly. Lets face it, I could quite easily have had my operation and lived on a diet of Mars Bars and cakes and never lost an ounce because although there would be a finite amount of these two sticky foods that I was able to consume I would still be taking on all of the wrong nutrients and overdoing the fats, refined sugars and carbs that I should avoid. Now since the operation my personal experience has been one of very seldom eating fatty foods, refined sugars and carbs. I am now retraining my body to exist with a much lower dose of these each day, but never do I worry about my calorie intake or compare it to the RDA.
So what will be the situation when I finally reach my target weight? How will I keep to it? Because if I carry on at the pace I am doing with my exercise, I will never be able to meet the calorific demands of my body, always burning much more than I can consume. Does this mean when I am the correct weight I must somehow start eating 2500 calories per day? It makes it sound that the only way I will be able to do this is to fire up the fatty foods and the calorific carbohydrate in the form of refined sweet treats which is counter intuitive to my new lifestyle. I mean why live one way for years, finally kick the habit only to have to go back to it lest I waste away as my body starts to eat itself?
Well if I had to live on the 2500 calories per day, you would think I would need to do this wouldn’t you? But in reality, I don’t need those calories, I need the correct vitamins and minerals. I need the correct proteins and nutritions and I need the correct amount of fluids in order to not only survive but actually thrive.
Therefore, I have to ask the question, is an RDA for calories really still the sensible way to measure things?
FOOD DIARY:Tuesday 16th June 2015
|Qty||Measure||Food||Calories (gr)||Protein (gr)||Carbs (gr)||Fat (gr)|
|Breakfast||1||70gms||Six Seeded Brown Batch Bread||137||8||20||6|
|Lunch||1||150gms||Chicken Tikka Breast||172||35.5||1.2||12.7|
|1||150gms||Quinoa And Feta Greek Salad||148.3||6.3||16.5||5.5|
|1||50gms||Basmati Rice with Lemongrass and Chilli||72||1.3||11||1.5|
|Snacks||1||175mls||Phd Diet Protein Whey||91||17||2.75||1.4|
|1||21gms||Walkers French Fries||92||1.1||13.9||3.4|
|1||330mls||San Pellegrino Limonata||149||0||34.7||0|
I have just purchased a Polar H7 Heart Rate monitor which can link with my iPhone and tells me extremely accurately how many calories I used at each exercise. I don’t want to bamboozle you with screenshots of what I achieved so I am yet to work out a way of showing how each of my 5 exercises went i.e Walking, Cycling, Cross Training, Stepping and Strength Training. Today however I shall show only one screenshot of a summary and hope it makes sense!
As you may know, yesterday was day five of the new regime where I gym for two days, rest for one and then gym again. All the while I walk each day. I have to say that I am surprised at how well I have coped with the change and find that there feels as though there is a touch more energy in my legs and and not flagging in the gym as I would have expected.
This is good because it means I am able to feel like I am active and doing something without burning myself out.
The weights section of the gym session looked like this:
- 3 x 30 Reps 25kg Abductor machine
- 3 x 30 Reps 25kg Adductor machine
- 3 x 30 Reps 25kg Abdominal Crunch machine
- 3 x 30 Reps 25kg Lower Back machine
- 3 x 25 Reps 25kg Cable Row
- 3 x 30 Reps 20kg Chest Press
- 3 x 30 Reps 20kg Pec Deck
- 2 x 25 Reps 20kg Tricep Pull Down
- 1 x 30 Reps 20kg Tricep Pull Down
- 2 x 25 Reps 6kg (each arm) Bicep Dumbell Curl
- 1 x 30 Reps 6kg (each arm) Bicep Dumbell Curl
- 3 x 20 Standing Oblique 20kg Barbell Twists (10 each side)
- 2 x 20 Standing Russian Oblique Weighted Bar Twists (10 each side)
- 1 x 20 Standing Russian Oblique Weighted Bar Twists (10 each side)
I followed my usual aerobic cardio program of 26 minutes in the gym and monitored my calorific expenditure via my Polar App. After which I managed some extra activity with a nice walk around the local Rugby and Football fields.
My Jawbone reading was on target as well due to the busy day and I achieved my maximum steps:
The Polar H7 tells the iPhone app many different things but I did manage to get the days summary (even though it is marked as weekly summary) screenshot which tells me the main thing I need to know to be honest and that is the calories burnt.
If you have experience of this software and know a better way of producing a results screen, I would love to hear from you.
Stay out of the fridge.