Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Where Are Her Parents?

In New York Magazine this month, a feature titled The New York Diet - What Five of us Ate in a Week, details not only what five New Yorkers ate, but when and where they ate their various meals. As the article highlights early, "Most important: Food is everywhere. It happens not just around the table but in the street, at the office, in front of the television, even on the subway."

As part of a peek into the food habits of New Yorkers, five were asked to keep a record of everything they ate for a week in May. They also detailed where they ate and at what time in the day. Before getting into the details of each participant, the authors sum up the findings (non-scientific, of course) with "Look quickly, and you’ll see more differences than similarities here. Some of us are scarfing Sour Patch Kids in class, while others dine on lamb shanks and grapefruit Bellinis at the Modern. But look closely and you’ll see that really, we’re all the same: hungry."

No person in the group ate what I'd considered good food each day - and heck, none managed to even eat well for just one day. Sadly, the bunch ate horribly, and while not a representative sample of Americans, I think their eating habits reveal that there is something wrong with our thinking about food in the United States. Each person in the article is a testament to the power of marketing and placement of junk foods, and the prevalence of ready-to-eat meals.

The worst eating habits came from a young girl, a teen - her daily menu consisted largely of candy, sweet beverages and fast food. Where is this 15-year-old's parents? How was she allowed to eat this on Monday?

8:00 A.M. HOME Stick of gum
8:10 Stick of gum
10:05 SCHOOL 6 Oreos 12:30 3/4 pack of M&M’s
1:40 P.M. POPEYES Buttermilk biscuit
1:45 MCDONALD’S Half a chicken strip
6:40 DOMINO’S Slice of pizza
7:15 HOME Bag of Puffin’ Corn
11:50 11/2 glasses of banana milk shake

Good grief!
Calories = 1673
Fat = 33% (60g)
Carbohydrate = 58% (247g)
Fiber = 7g
Protein = 9% (just 38g)

This child is STARVING for essential nutrients!

While her calorie intake was questionable as "adequate" for her age, her nutrient profile was nothing short of a disaster - and this particular day was not an anomoly, it was her typical eating pattern!Not only did she totally rob her body of essential amino acids with a deficient protein intake, and completely miss out on essential fatty acids - she also missed almost every important micronutrient - Potassium, Vitamins A, C, D, E, B-6, B-12, K along with Folate, Niacin, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc and Selenium!

This young woman is a metabolic timebomb - a dietary disaster walking, that at some point will catch up with her in the most certain of health terms.

The rest of her week was no better - everything from a wide assortment of candy, chips, fast foods and empty calories. There's no easy way to say this, but she's slowly starving her body for nutrition and at some point her health is going to be the price for this diet.

Where are her parents?


  1. A young man I know is now 24. I've known him since he was 5. His diet, since the time I met him: Ritz or saltines, peanutbutter and velveeta, kraft mac and cheese. He also eats all kinds of chips, etc, but little candy. Beverages have always been 2% milk and soda, with an occasional glass of OJ. Now he also drinks beer.

    I saw him last week for the first time in 5 yrs and he looks healthy enough. I cringe tho, knowing he's on a road to disaster!

    His doc advised his mom to "not worry about it" when he was little, and now it's the only way he will eat!

  2. That is absolutely insane! Unfortunately, it doesn't surprise me at all. We talk about nutrition all the time, but it isn't stressed to our youth the way that it should be. I posted a similar, and equally disturbing, story a few days ago on my blog (Stop the Madness).