Friday, February 12, 2010

Nutrition Absurdities

 "Just 2 teaspoons of blackstrap molasses will sweetly provide you with 13.3% of the daily recommended value for iron. " - World's Healthiest Foods website (click title to go there)
I wonder if there are any nutritionists out there who can explain to me this whole concept of "recommended values" of this and that?  I think the earliest I can recall being taught about the food pyramid and the United States Department of Agriculture recommended daily allowances of this and that was in 7th grade science class, about 1972.  I could easily confirm this with Google but 1972 may have been when all this was beginning to be taught in our schools.

By the way as an aside the building I attended junior-high, what they now call middle-school, was the same building that President Bill Clinton attended in high school before the new high school was constructed.  If you are a Bill Clinton supporter reading this then I'll let you kiss my book.  Central was another broken promise.  He was going to convert that building to a shining institution on the hill supporting and sponsoring artists and the art community.  Instead it stands abandoned.  Sarasota has done far more with its old high school and the buildings are even about the same age.  In all fairness Sarasota's old high school is half the size in a community with intellect.  The old ways are worth preserving for future generations and so Central Junior High School stands as a monument to Bill Clinton's intentions.

On to the business at hand:  2tsp * (100/13.3) = 15.03 teaspoons of molasses would have to be consumed per day to achieve the USDA's recommended daily allowance of Iron.  Remember this is a food high in this nutrient.  Just think how much you would have to eat of other foods.  Mixed nuts: 6%Iron, per serving of 20 nuts is just one other example of a great source of iron.  20 * (100/6) = 333.333 nuts.  How absurd!  This means to be healthy and eat a variety of foods I would, for example, have to consume 7 teaspoons of molasses and 151 mixed nuts per day.  

These standards feed guilt trips and foster a sense of failure just reading the nutrition labels.  Where does that leave the rest of the world?  Why are we even still alive if we can't even meet the minimum daily requirements?   I have no trouble meeting recommended daily allowance of chocolate; especially during holidays and St. Valentine's Day. 

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