Eating Healthy

Zooming in on Karen and Carter

Todd Whitaker

Previously, we explained how Nutrilyze adjusts meal scores for different individuals. Now we will demonstrate this by looking at the results for two very different, hypothetical users.

Karen is a 45-year-old business executive who weighs 140 pounds and is 5’1”. Karen’s BMI (Body Mass Index) is 26.4, placing her above the suggested healthy range. She has a busy lifestyle and a demanding job that rarely affords her time to exercise. She would like to lose about 1 lb. per week by dieting. Following guidelines from The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, she will limit her daily caloric intake to 1,000 – 1,200 calories per day. This guideline is based on the assumption that she will be dieting responsibly by eating healthy foods and meeting her suggested daily nutrient requirements.

Carter is a 21-year-old college athlete who weighs 190 pounds and is 6’2”. His BMI of 24.4 is within healthy ranges. As an athlete, he has an extremely active lifestyle that often includes multiple training sessions per day. His goals are to maintain his weight and fuel his active lifestyle. He requires around 3,500 calories a day.

Karen’s and Carter’s individual profiles are run through the Nutrilyze model and scored for the same 266 meals that we looked at last week.

Karen’s average meal score is 42.6 while Carter’s is 53.9. If you recall from last week, the average meal score is 52.7 for the 266 chain restaurant meals. Karen will have a more difficult time finding meals that are suitable to her current needs and goals. The chart below reveals how scores vary for Karen and Carter.

Karen’s average macronutrient sufficiency score is 91.0. Carter’s is 73.4. This indicates that most meals contain plenty of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for Karen. Carter, however, has greater requirements due to his age and lifestyle and many of the meals will not meet his macronutrient needs.

Karen’s average detriment score (i.e. score penalties for unhealthy nutrients) is almost four times worse than Carter’s! Karen will have more penalties added to her scores because things like excessive calories, sugar, and saturated fat content have a greater impact on her due to her age, size, lifestyle, and weight goals. Carter is younger, larger, and more active which allows him to consume more calories, fats, and sugar with fewer penalties.

Now let’s focus on two breakfast meals that seem almost identical from the description:

  • A 700 calorie avocado toast on whole grain bread with cage-free eggs, olive oil, sea salt, lemon, and fresh herbs.
  • A 420 calorie breakfast sandwich with egg whites, cheese, avocado, baby spinach, and tomato on a sprouted grain roll.

Both these meals sound like healthy choices for each user, but the avocado toast scores 80 for Carter and 44 for Karen and the breakfast sandwich scores 41 for Carter and 64 for Karen. While these meals have similar ingredients, they are actually quite different in their macronutrient and caloric content.

The avocado toast is one of the top scoring meals for Carter because it has well-balanced macronutrients and enough calories to fuel his training routine; however, it is too much food for Karen. The lower calorie breakfast sandwich helps Karen maintain her weight loss goals while still providing her with a healthy start to her day, but this meal simply would not be enough fuel for Carter.

Eating healthy can be complicated and time consuming. It requires finding the right ingredients, limiting portions, and analyzing nutrient values. Nutrilyze simplifies this process by highlighting healthy meals and analyzing nutrient values for you.

That wraps up our demonstration of Nutrilyze scoring for chain restaurant meals. Look out for future blog posts where we will feature the comprehensive version of our scoring model that analyzes macronutrients, amino acids, essential fatty acids, and micronutrients.

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