Dr. John Bernardi of Precision Nutrition has seven basic steps for those considering different eating/drinking habits.  These aren’t New Years’ resolutions; just happens to be 12/31 today.  (I realize the article was first posted in 2003, but the principles seem to apply in 2011-12.)

Here’s my best paraphrase:

1)  Eat every 2-3 waking hours, meaning you’ll eat 5-8 meals per day;

2)  Eat a lean protein with each meal;

3)  Eat a serving of fruit or vegetable with each meal;

4)  Ensure that your carbohydrate intake occurs only from fruits and vegetables, not from “artifical” sugars (e.g. Gummy Bears, Coca-Cola, etc.)

5)  Intake 25-35% of your total calories from fat–a bit from animal fat but most of it from unsaturated fats (e.g. various “healthy” oils and “nutty” fats);

6) Drink non-caloric fluids (e.g. water, unsweetened tea, non-caloric sodas)–unless your fluid is a workout or post-workout fluid (e.g. a protein shake);

7)  Eat relatively unprocessed “whole” foods; apply this method 90% of the time.

I think Dr. Bernardi’s tips are a good starting point, but we require more information.

Arithmetically, how do I calculate various aspects of my nutrition?

I know that a carb fat gram has 9 calories, a fat carb gram has 4 calories, and a protein gram has 4 calories.  But I’d need to chart it somehow to understand what and how to eat.

For example, I weigh 175 pounds (or 79.5 kilograms).  Some experts say an active person should consume between 25 and 30 calories per kg of body weight.  Using that assumption, I should consume between roughly 2,000 and 2,400 calories per day.  (Assumptions, gut feelings, and hunches are great methods to assess nutrition or to practice law!)

Applying more assumptions, let’s run the numbers on the amount of protein, fat, and carbs I should intake each day if I’m active and want to build muscle.


While some maintain that 60 grams of protein per day is sufficient for everyone (a Harvard study–makes me wonder about the study, because we all have different requirements), others maintain that active persons require somewhere between 0.8 and 1.0 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day to build muscle.  So let’s take 0.9 grams/pound.  Therefore, I require 157.5 grams of protein, or 630 calories.


Dr. Bernardi says I should average 30% of my calories from fat.  Ergo, 600-720 calories.  Each fat gram has 9 calories.  So I’ll require at least 66.66 (repeating) grams of fat.


I have between 650 and 1,170 carb calories left to consume.  (On the low end: 2,000 total calories minus 630 protein calories minus 720 carb fat calories; on the high end: 2,400 total calories minus 630 protein calories minus 600 carb fat calories).

650 carb calories divided by 4 calories per carb gram = 162.5 carb grams on the low end.

1,170 carb calories divided by 4 calories per carb gram = 292.5 carb grams on the high end.

Again, all of this wheels off of several assumptions.

All told, this scenario requires me daily to consume:

  • 157.5 protein grams;
  • 66.66 fat grams;
  • Somewhere between 162.5 and 292.5 carb grams.

The arithmetic is relatively easy.  The difficulty lies in self-discipline and monitoring the intake.  I have to read labels frequently and think before shoving biscuits and gravy into my piehole.  A couple of slices of pizza puts a whole new paint job on the numbers–even for just one day.

My head hurts right now.  I need a break.

Here’s what I consider to be .38 Special’s best song–although the video is pure 80’s cheese.  The woman in the pickup was Bruce Springsteen’s first wife–and she appears pretty mad at 1:51.  Hell hath no fury …


7 Comments on “Food”

  1. mj monaghan says:

    Wow, right up my alley! I try to go as few carbs as possible, normally. But I went way overboard this holiday season on the pumpkin pie. I should be 172 lbs, but am sitting at 178 right now. Will be cutting back after the new year.

    You made this very understandable to the simpleton (aka, me).

    • The DA Blog says:

      Hey MJ:

      Great minds work alike–and so do our’s!!!

      Thanks again for reading. I commented on your year-end post. It was fantastic.

      In fact, I’m going to post a link to it directly on my blog it was so good.

  2. Dick Kusleika says:

    I don’t buy the eight meals per day thing. Does anybody really do that? It seems like a real pain. I wonder if there are any studies about its efficacy.

    • The DA Blog says:

      I’ve heard of professional bodybuilders setting their alarms to wake up at all hours of the night so they’re eating every 2-3 hours.

      But your point is well-stated: Eating 8x per day would be difficult. I can see 5x per day and aim for that. In fact, many people likely eat 5x per day; 3 squares and 2 snacks.

      Seems the important part is the content of those meals. But I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know …

  3. Roger says:

    Your Grandma Sahs had some words about a healthy diet….and life in general….

    Hard work and clean livin’…

    Everything in moderation….

    Have a glass of red wine occasionally to clear out the pipes….

    She would also remark on occasion…
    “Laheer macht nicht satt, besser wer kartoffel hat.”
    Laurels won’t fill your stomach; you are better off with potatoes.

    It was a sound recipe for 92 years of long life…

  4. […] posted previously about nutrition intake, and now MFP relatively-accurately determines how well or poorly I am hitting certain daily […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s