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Jayne Miller, WBAL-TV I-Team chief investigative reporter
Jayne Miller WBAL ReporterJayne Miller spends her days chasing bad guys all around Baltimore, so one would expect her diet to reflect an eating-on-the-go, grabbing-what-she-can lifestyle. But this isn’t exactly the case. Jayne started each day with a sound breakfast, including prune juice and yogurt, and ate salad with dinner on all three evenings of the recall. She also ate turkey and chicken each day. In fact, there wasn’t a greasy hamburger or orange Slurpee to be found.
Healthy habits Jayne drinks an impressive amount of water each day, well over the recommended nine cups. On one day she got roughly half of that purely from unadulterated tap water.
 
Jayne was also above the range in almost all of her vitamins and major minerals. All of her B vitamins— important for energy metabolism— were right on or over the recommended amounts; and her mineral intake, including calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc, was on or above the mark. At 54, Jayne needs 2.4 milligrams daily of vitamin B-12, for example, and her three-day average was 3.2 mg. The B vitamins are water soluble and the extra is excreted, so there is little fear of toxicity.
Areas for improvement Vitamins D— necessary for calcium absorption— and E— a powerful antioxidant— were two standout exceptions for Jayne’s stellar vitamin intake. She was low all three days for both. She could add salmon, mackerel, fortified milk, sunflower seeds, almonds, peanut butter or a fortified cereal such as Total Raisin Bran to her diet to increase her intake of these nutrients.

Jayne drinks lots of coffee and iced tea throughout the day— a main reason her water values are up. Because of this, though, her caffeine levels are sky-high, averaging more than 1,000 milligrams per day. What surprised Jayne the most as a result of this analysis, however, was her high sodium intake on each day of the recall. At roughly 3,500 milligrams each day, she was way above the daily recommendation of 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams. Peanut butter crackers, mixed nuts, pretzels, soup, cole slaw and a turkey wrap, all foods she ate during the recall, contributed to the high amounts. Sodium is found more in processed foods than from the salt shaker on our kitchen counters.

“I never, ever, use a salt shaker. I never would have guessed my sodium levels could be so high,” says Jayne. “I honestly never paid that much attention. I am now.”

Brian Lawrence, editor of Style magazine
Brian Lawrence, editor of StyleBrian attends cocktail parties and restaurant and club openings several times a week, meaning he ends up drinking more than he eats most nights. When he’s at home, Brian rounds out his diet with skim milk, lite ice cream and yogurt. He avoids cheese and tends to stick with poultry or lean meats.

He doesn’t eat breakfast, however. “Then I’m really hungry at lunch and will eat a whole sandwich with a softball-size clump of chicken salad and chips and a Diet Coke,” says Brian. It’s not so much that his lunch is that nutritionally unsound; it’s that skipping breakfast means he misses the opportunity to intake fiber, foods high in antioxidants and water— all areas he is deficient in.

Healthy habits Brian, 46, is right on the money for his intake of total fat and saturated fat. Twenty to 35 percent of his calories each day should come from fat, making his acceptable daily amount of fat roughly 80 grams. He came in with a three-day average of 65 grams. Equally impressive is his averaged saturated fat intake of 14 grams compared to the acceptable limit of 26 grams.

Experts agree we should strive for zero trans fats in our diets. Brian’s trans-fat numbers were negligible with an average value of 0.05. He was spot-on with daily cholesterol values averaging around 100 milligrams compared to the recommendation of less than 300 milligrams, a fact that correlates with his low fat numbers and puts him at lowered risk for heart disease. 

Areas for improvement Brian’s carbohydrate intake is typical of the way many of us eat: a high carbohydrate number that’s low in fiber, revealing simple carbohydrate sources such as chips, pizza, cookies, candy, spaghetti noodles and cake— all foods he ate during the recall. His average value was roughly 205 grams compared to the daily recommendation of 130 grams. This wouldn’t be such a concern if his carbohydrate intake included the recommended 36 grams of fiber— we’d know he was getting many of his foods from complex sources like vegetables, fruits and 100 percent whole wheat grains. However, his fiber numbers came in at an averaged low of 12 grams.
 
Brian drinks a diet soda each day. Soda is a major source of phosphorus— important for bone growth and energy transfer in cells, but too much may lead to a drop in blood calcium levels and bone loss. Brian hovered at 713 milligrams, just above the recommended 700. Replacing his soda with water would increase his dismal water intake during the recall— an average 2,000 grams daily versus the recommended 3,700 grams.
 
Brian was also low each day in the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E that fight against cellular damage. Vitamin A is important for the maintenance of healthy vision and has a daily recommendation of 900 milligrams. Brian’s three-day average of 96.29 milligrams is downright scary. He must add foods such as liver, carrots and cantaloupe to his diet. 
 
“This analysis is a real eye-opener,” says Brian, who now keeps a blue water bottle on his desk. “I need to drink more water. I will drink more water.”

Cara Ober, artist
Cara Ober artistCara loves natural, fresh, local food. She walks to the Waverly farmers’ market most Saturdays and loves to cook, especially Italian— olive oils, garlic, red peppers. She eats most every meal at home: oatmeal with blueberries and peanut butter, a banana, and coffee for breakfast; a light lunch of a tuna sandwich or leftovers; and a dinner of fish, salad and usually sweet potatoes.

Healthy habits Cara’s dietary fat levels are right on track for optimal health and about half come from monounsaturated sources— olives and olive oils, avocados, nuts, seeds— that are loaded with vitamin E and nutrients that help to lower bad cholesterol (LDLs) and raise good cholesterol (HDLs). Her saturated fats— animal fats, cream and whole milk— were low, coming in under the recommended 10 percent of daily calories each day.
Cara’s intake of vegetables, especially sweet potatoes, and her consumption of fish and olive oil, really help her in getting enough of the antioxidant vitamins A, C, E and minerals beta carotene and selenium to put her in the healthy range.

Areas for improvement Like Brian, Cara’s fiber/carbohydrate ratio is off. Cara’s carbohydrates were close to the acceptable range of no more than 130 grams a day, but her fiber was low. She needs to be getting her carbohydrates from higher-payoff foods such as broccoli, asparagus, 100 percent whole wheat bread and fruit. As it stands, she’s getting her numbers from simple sugar sources such as pizza and multi-grain bread (not 100 percent whole wheat). “Oh,” adds Cara, “and I definitely like Belgian-style beer and red wine.” Definitely a source of simple carbohydrates. As a 34-year-old woman, Cara needs 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day to ensure future bone health. She was way off the mark on each day of the recall, consuming only 339, 489 and 183 milligrams respectively. These values shocked her even though she admits that she doesn’t drink much milk, a solid source of calcium, and eats cheese only sporadically. She needs green leafy veggies such as collard greens and spinach, or yogurt in her weekly diet. Drinking calcium-fortified orange juice a few times a week would give her more calcium along with vitamins D and C.

Also surprising was Cara’s low iron consumption. Women need roughly 18 milligrams per day, yet Cara, like many young women her age, consumed an average of about nine milligrams during the recall. Lean meat, along with poultry and fish, provides a valuable source of readily absorbed heme iron that combats the fatigue that accompanies low iron stores. Clams, turkey giblets and fortified cereals are also good sources. Cara also needs roughly 400 to 600 mg of folate each day to ensure a healthy future pregnancy. Spinach, strawberries, citrus fruits and juices, as well as fortified grains, provide good sources.

Cara, busy with her new art gallery Paperwork, her adjunct teaching at Loyola, Hopkins and MICA, and her art-critic blog muses, “In my next life, I want to come back as a restaurant critic with an exceptionally high metabolism!”

Now it’s your turn. To analyze your own food intake, visit Mypyramid.gov.

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