Nutritional Anthropology


Throughout the field of nutritional anthropology, energy balance is used to obtain data and insight regarding the nourishment required by food intake in order to sustain our bodies in relation to the physical activity needed to sustain a healthy lifestyle that is balanced with our energy intake. Although you can be in positive, negative or perfect energy balance, a person’s energy balance does not determine their nourishment and health. Although the USDA gives recommendations regarding intake and expenditure, they are inaccurate similar to the recommendations on food labels (lecture 2, Boose) because they do not take into account the various diversifications that contribute to a person’s health. Energy balance is a good indicator of health, but not a perfect indicator because someone could be eating poorly and be within the calories in versus calories out metrics of energy balance. A healthy lifestyle goes beyond energy balance, it is composed of micro and macro nutrient fulfillment within a person’s diet, exercise, sleep, and water consumption.

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Although someone may be consuming the proper amount of calories they may not be getting the recommended micro and macronutrient recommendations, and even if they are consuming the recommended nutrients they may not be absorbing them due to food allergies resulting in nutrient deficiencies. My hypothesis is that I will be relatively close to achieving energy balance, but I will be over the recommendations for fat and protein in my diet and under on the amount of carbohydrates consumed within my diet. I predict that my expenditure will exceed my intake, yet I will feel energized due to the increased nutrient absorption within this new diet. Methods & Materials I started my intake and expenditure diary on May 22nd, 2018 and ended on May 24th, 2018. I recorded data points from these three consecutive days because they were the closest representation to what a common week looks like for me in this season of healing my gut from food allergy damage.

I collected my data in Eugene, Oregon on my Iphone through the notes application, then I put the information into the MyFitnessPal application starting on Wednesday and synced my expenditure data with the movement data from my apple watch. After that I inputted the data into the USDA SuperTracker and created reports for the following selected three days and analyzed the reports provided by the USDA on the SuperTracker website. I used my processed data and compared it to the information and recommendations from the Anthropology 220 videos, modules and the appendix. I also recorded how I was feeling during workouts and before and after meals so that I could monitor the absorption and energy relationship throughout the three days. I analyzed the data recorded using the Anthropology 220 lecture materials, readings, and the SuperTracker information. (Boose,2018)


The data I collected consisted of intake from when I woke up until I went to sleep during the three day period selected. I recorded all of the food, drinks and water that I consumed throughout this time period using my notes on my Iphone and MyFitnessPal, which is an app on my Iphone. I recorded the quantity and mealtimes in my notes prior to entering the information into any applications. After I entered the information into my phone, at the end of the day I would enter it into an Excel spreadsheet on my Laptop. I am required to closely measure the food which I consume outside of this assignment due to a recent illness and food allergies, so all of all of my food intake was measured closely and prepared at home with as many fresh ingredients as possible. Using the MyFitnessPal application assisted me in measuring the different nutrients that I consumed over the three day period and gave me more accuracy and knowledge due to the large database provided on the application. My water intake was measure by the 1 gallon jug that I use to make sure I am getting all of the recommended water which my doctor asks me to consume daily. I utilize a food scale to precisely measure how much meat I am consuming in ounces.

My naturopath asked me to measure my fruits and vegetables in cups for accuracy in my diet prior to consumption. The data points I recorded for this assignment were extremely precise due to the diligence and specificity required by my doctor in order to heal my gut and return to optimal health. Energy Expenditure I collected the data for my energy expenditure from 12:00 am on May 8th to 11:59 pm on May 22nd. When calculating one day of expenditure I started at 12:00 am and concluded that day at 11:59 pm the following night in order to get a full 24 hours. This data was recorded in kilocalories (kcal) of the energy expended within the daily time period and compiled for an overall energy expenditure from the total energy expenditure over the 72 hour time period. The activities producing increased energy expenditure were recorded in minutes, I also recorded the amount of steps I had taken throughout the day using my apple watch pedometer. I utilized an Iphone application called Nike Runner’s app to measure the mileage and pace of exercise. I was following a precise exercise regimen from my doctor in order to keep my immune system healthy so my body could heal. All of my exercise was recorded in steps, miles and minutes which helped me calculate overall energy expenditure.

I also recorded my peak heart rate and level of difficulty of the exercise to help evaluate my bodies changes in health when sticking closely to my doctors guidelines. After recording data and inputting it into programs on my Iphone and computer I did hand calculations and wrote them into my diet and exercise journal for my doctor. Exercise and expenditure was as precise as possible due to the deficiencies of technology, sometimes miscalculating steps or heart rate, but overall relatively accurate. Data Analysis Initially I recorded three consecutive days of data in my iPhone using the notes application. Then I used myfitnesspal, Microsoft Excel, USDA’s SuperTracker, the Anthropology Appendix and information provided, research, and my doctors information, and guidelines, I analyzed my data points and adjusted my food and exercise to be more precise and in line with my doctors requests. Often the foods and supplements were not included in the SuperTracker so I entered them based on the information on MyFitnessPal or on the label of the food.

A computer generated Nutrient Intake Report on MyFitnessPal and SuperTracker was used to find the micronutrient and macronutrient breakdown of the foods individually and collectively. This report contained the daily averages and totals of proteins, carbohydrates and fats all measured in grams, micronutrient totals, and the average expenditure measured in kilocalories.Then this data was calculated in my excel document and recorded in my journal to measure the averages and adjust my intake and activity over the course of three days. My intake and expenditure was compared to the guidelines given by the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) provided to users by the USDA. The DRI guidelines that people are given are calculated based on their attributes including their weight, height, gender, and their age in order to determine the best DRI recommendations for that specific person which can be found on the SuperTracker program. We produced different data points for each day of data collected because of the daily differentiation in intake and expenditure. We used the appendix provided to determine the physical activity data to input into the formula and into Microsoft Excel to determine the kilocalories(kcal) expended per day. All of our data was entered into Microsoft Excel, resulting in the total kcal expended per day as well as the summation of kcals expended over the course of three consecutive days. After we calculated the total kcal expenditure we utilized Microsoft Excel to compare the dietary intake data using a correlation coefficient analysis on Microsoft Excel.

Results Energy Intake Table 1: Total Energy Intake (kcals) by Date of Data Collection Date of Collection Energy Intake (kcal) Difference between days (kcal) May 22, 2018 2082 —— May 23, 2018 1784 Decrease by 298 May 24, 2018 1884 Increase by 100 My total energy intake for each day that I collected data is shown within table 1. The energy intake varied throughout the three days, on the first day I consumed significantly more kcals because I prepared higher caloric meals due to the expected increase of expenditure during my higher intensity exercise day. The last two days were closer in intake. You can find the average macronutrient distribution within Figure 4.

In table three you can find the DRI values established based on my height, weight, age, and gender (USDA, 2018)According to the USDA these are the values of kcals and macronutrients someone with my attributes listed above should achieve and maintain in order to establish and sustain a good measure of health.

Table 3: DRI Targets Based on Age, Sex, Height, and Weight kcal Carbohydrates (g) Fats (% of kcal) Proteins (g) 2500 130 20-35% 46 You can find the comparisons of my daily dietary intake in comparison to the recommended intake values of the DRI over the course of the three day consecutive period recorded in tables 4, 5, and 6. To decipher the tables it is helpful to know that the status column tells the user if they have satisfied the recommended DRI value for the specific macronutrient. If it says “OK” that means you have satisfied the recommendation, “OVER” tells the user that their intake of that specific category exceeded the recommendations given by the DRI, and if it says “UNDER” that means that the user did not meet the given recommendations of intake based on the DRI. These words although they are helpful do not give a precise indication to the user because you could be almost in the OK category but it would still read OVER or UNDER the same regardless of if it is substantially over or under or minorly in either category.

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Nutritional Anthropology. (2019, Feb 20). Retrieved February 6, 2023 , from

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