Example of a Personal Diet Analysis

By Dietitian, Wellness Educator and eHow Contributor, Elizabeth Kahn

A personal diet analysis is where a dietitian or nutritionist evaluates the daily diet of an individual to determine its healthfulness. There are many reasons that diet analysis can be necessary. An individual may have health concerns or problems such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obesity, diabetes and Crohn’s disease. There are many in Western society who would benefit from diet analysis as many of the typical Western diets are out of balance nutritionally and this can cause a host of diseases and other health problems

Software, Online Tools

There are software packages that can be used at home. This would involve the individual entering his or her daily food intake into the computer and allowing it to do the diet analysis. The diet could then be modified and re-entered until the right nutritional content was reached. Many dietitians do this for their patients. The software costs anywhere from $2 each month (online) to $800 for the software dietitians use. There are also free tools for diet analysis, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s tool, MyPyramid.gov.

In-Person Diet Analysis

There are dietitians and nutritionists who do one on one counseling. Many nutritionists
charge under $100 per hour. Thirty to 90 minutes per week for several weeks
(approximately 10 weeks) would be sufficient for most people.

Food Journal

In person, individualized nutrition counseling typically involves the patient or client
keeping a diary or a food journal of what they eat each day. Most food journals
are kept for a few days to a few weeks. The diet is then evaluated for
nutritional content, balance, calories, portion sizes, fat and carbohydrate
intake, etc. The nutrition expert will then review the journal and make suggested
changes to the patient or clients diet.

Example of a Daily Food Diary

Breakfast:

2 eggs

2 tbsp. butter

1 piece white toast

3 cups coffee

Lunch:

1 hamburger

1 large fries

1 large soda

Snack:

1 cup barbecue potato chips

Dinner:

2 cups chicken casserole w/potatoes, cream of chicken soup, cheddar cheese,
onions

1 french roll

Dessert

1 cup chocolate ice cream

Problems

This diet is high in cholesterol, calories and saturated or “bad” fat. This diet
is also high in processed foods including white flour that have many nutrients
such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids removed. As a result, this diet is
also low in fiber. While it does contain a sufficient amount of protein, it
actually contains too much. This diet also contains enough servings of grains but
not enough whole grains as guides like the food pyramid intend. The body
responds similarly to white flour as it does to sugar, so it should be
considered more of a sugar than a grain although it does contain some
nutrients. Sugars and fats have a thin stripe on the food pyramid, meaning we
should limit our intake of those things. This diet is too high in the fats and
sugars and needs more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Foods like fruits,
vegetables and whole grains contain many important nutrients such as vitamins,
minerals, amino acids and fiber, which this diet and many typical Western diets
are lacking in.

Recommendations

A nutritionist or dietitian would suggest something like the following:

Breakfast:

1 egg

1 tbsp. canola oil margarine

1/2 apple sliced

1 piece whole-grain bread

1 to 2 cups green tea or juice

Lunch:

1 tuna sandwich on whole-grain bread w/lettuce and tomato and 1 tbsp. low-fat
mayonnaise

(or 1 turkey or veggie burger on whole-grain bread with lettuce and tomato,
ketchup and mustard, 1 tsp. mayo if desired)

1/2 cup baked chips

1 glass water or juice

Snack:

1 whole orange or 4 slices of 3-4 inch celery sticks with peanut butter

Dinner:

1 cup chicken casserole with mozzarella cheese, onions, scalloped potatoes,
low-fat milk

1 cup green salad with 1 tbsp. olive oil and vinegar dressing

1 to 2 pieces whole grain bread of their choice (i.e., slices, roll or
baguette)

1 glass water or juice

Dessert: 3/4
cup chocolate frozen yogurt

Explanation of Recommendations

The recommendations made will add many nutrients and will lower the amount of
calories, bad fat and cholesterol. This modified diet is much more balanced and
incorporates the right amount of each food group. There are many ways to modify
an individual’s diet. Personal counseling and interviewing is useful in
determining what types of foods to incorporate into the diet. This diet was
modified by taking the client’s existing choices and making them more
healthful. There are many creative ways to change one’s diet and personal
consulting by a nutrition expert is the ideal method for achieving that and
finding a solution that will last.

Resources

MyPyramid .gov

The American Dietetic Association

Find A Nutrititonist.com