Wednesday, January 24, 2007

National Retailer Advising Nutritionally Bankrupt Diet Advice

What happens when you mix a national retailer with advice to lose weight? You wind up with the latest and greatest marketing campaign to sell goods to consumers through a program encouraging you to "Get Fit. Get Rewards." for signing up to lose weight with KMart's website, New Day Your Way.

The lead-in page is convincing! Heck, if you sign-up you can get coupons to go shopping and buy products sold by KMart! Yippie!

Join thousands of other weight loss heroes along the path to the life you've always wanted. It's a simple, fun, and supportive way to shed those pounds and find a healthier, happier you. We supply you with:
  • a weight loss program that allows you to set your own goals and track your weekly progress
  • expert advice on how to eat healthier and become happier
  • exciting new exercise techniques
  • motivational emails
  • and articles coupon rewards when you succeed

What exactly is the weight loss program they're providing online? Well, over at the site's "Food School" we find an area sponsored by the American Diabetes Association and an At-a-Glance Food Guide with the following recommendations for women: Protein 45g; Carbohydrate 55% of calories; Fat 30% of calories.

If fat and carbohydrate make up 85% of the total calories, and 45g of protein is the remaining 15% of calories, they're endorsing and recommending a 1225-calorie a day diet for women without actually saying it.

Let's be honest here, for the vast majority of overweight women trying to lose weight, this is simply not enough calories to meet basal metabolic requirements - the energy needed for basic functions like heart beat, body temperature and blood flow. For example, a 30-year old woman, 5'6" tall, weighing 175-lbs (BMI 28.2), requires a minimum of 1578-calories each day to meet basal metabolic energy requirements. If she weighs more, she requires more calories just to meet basic needs.

Putting aside the calorie recommendation, more disturbing is the recommended intake for vitamins, minerals and trace elements - those provided will lead to significant nutrient deficiency if followed. With just 45g of protein each day, a woman who might weigh 175-lbs is also going to fail to meet minimum requirements for amino acids; protein requirements are agreed to be 0.8g/kg of body weight - at 175-lbs a woman would require a minimum of 64g of complete protein to meet her minimum needs each day.

Now, imagine this - a young woman, overweight at 175-lbs, following the advice to consume just 150mcg of folate each day who then gets pregnant. Can you say high risk of neural tube defects? Higher risk of anemia?

Imagine now she's also followed the advice to consume just 500mg of calcium each day, just 2.5mcg of vitamin D, and just 200mg of magnesium. Can you say high risk of bone fracture?

In both of the above examples, the site recommends micronutrient intake far below the Daily Recommended Intake (DRI) published by the National Academy of Sciences, Institutes of Medicine. In fact, the site's recommendation for Folate is just 37.5% of the DRI - the IOM recommends women consume at least 400mcg each day of folate!

The site recommends intake for sixteen different micronutrients - vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, patheotenic acid, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin D, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc.

Of these, six are accurate (based on the IOM's established standards); eleven fail to meet DRI, and even the lower Estimated Average Requirement (EAR); and one, vitamin A, actually exceeds the upper tolerable limit established by the IOM.

So not only will your average overweight woman be eating too few calories, she'll also be consuming a diet that's nutritionally bankrupt.

All brought to you by the American Diabetes Association and KMart.

But hey, you can get some coupons to go shopping!


  1. And "THEY" somehow think that a reduced carb diet is nutritionally dangerous? Compared to this?

    Everything we're being told nutritionally (by the "authorities") is just plain topsy-turvey.

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  3. That's really scary.

    Hey, BTW, thanks for helping Jimmy with his response to that nutritionist, Kelly. It's much appreciated and your input clearly shows through in his article.

  4. Scarey is right!!!

    I think even the ADA (normally) recommends higher protein intake than these levels!!!

    As I said before, I'm on several boards about low carbing and other health issues. One is a kick sugar forum. There is one gentleman who knows he has at least 200 pounds to loose (too heavy for his scale) and he was advised by the dietician on the board to have a max intake of 1200 calories!!! Funny....she took offense when I asked if she was crazy! LOL

    Just like cholesterol levels have been set for all at levels that "help" high risk seems that 1200 calories is the "new" level people should be striving for. Doesn't matter if your male or female, 5' tall or 6' tall, 1200 calories seems to be becomeing more and more popular!

  5. Anonymous8:38 PM

    In some countries people are actually dying of malnutrition eating like this.

  6. I agree that the total idea is absurd, on the question of their vitamin A advice, I suspect a typo, which further calls into question the rational basis of the whole argument. On-the-other-hand, the UTL for vitamin A, the only evidence supporting that absurdly low number are studies that did not distinguish between naturally occurring vitamin A, true retinol, and synthetic vitamin A.

    It is unlikely that the recommendations provided could conceivably provide even the ridiculously low RDA recommendations for any nutrient with out supplementation. So how do the experts segue from, “supplements are just expensive urine”, to you cannot get your RDA for essential nutrients from food and sufficiently restrict calories to maintain a “healthy” weight?

  7. George - it indeed may be a typo; but the text should have been proofed to avoid such a silly error.

    I agree the vitamin A UTL, as it is currently set, is much more appropriate for sources of fortified vitamin A, and supplemental A.....the other biggie is having adequate vitamin D, which in this diet is set ridiculously low at HALF the DRI....when the diet is rich with natural sources of vitamin A, the potential for toxicity is there (according to Dr. Mary Enig) still if there is not enough vitamin D.