Tag Archives: protein

Insane Medicine : The My Plate nutrition web site – suggestions for a well balanced diet.

My plate - food recommendations from the government.
My plate – food recommendations from the government.
Insane Medicine - Florida state food panel recommendations mirroring 'My Plate'
Insane Medicine – Florida state food panel recommendations mirroring ‘My Plate’.
Insane Medicine - My plate menu plan example
Insane Medicine – My plate menu plan example.


Fruits can be fresh, canned, frozen, dried, whole, cut up, or pureed. One cup of fruit juice counts as a cup of fruit and 1/2 cup of dried fruit can be considered as a cup of fruit. See the link for more specifics on what counts as a cup of fruit: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/printpages/MyPlateFoodGroups/Fruits/food-groups.fruits-counts.pdf

How much fruit is needed every Day based on age and sex? http://www.choosemyplate.gov/printpages/MyPlateFoodGroups/Fruits/food-groups.fruits-amount.pdf  Basically men need 2 cups of fruits and vegetables a day, women need approximately 1 and 1/2 cups a day.

What do fruits provide for us?

  • They are high in fiber, which decreases heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
  • They are rich in potassium, which lowers blood pressure, decreases kidney stones, as well as bone loss.
  • There are fewer calories in a cup of fruit relative to higher calorie options, thereby decreasing overall calorie intake with fruit consumption.
  • There is no cholesterol in fruit.
  • Potassium is especially high in bananas, prunes, prune juice, dried peaches, apricots, cantaloupe, honey dew melon, and orange juice. Potassium intake reduces blood pressure in people with normal kidney function.
  • Fruits are high in fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, and folate. The fiber decreases cholesterol, helps with bowel function, decreases diverticulosis, and helps to give a feeling of fullness after eating. Folate decreases spinal tube defects in pregnancy.
  • http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/fruits-why.html

Vegetables are a crucial component to this meal plan, and the My Plate regimen creates 5 subgroups of vegetables: Dark Green Veggies, Starchy vegetables, red/orange, beans and peas, and others. The health benefits for vegetables are similar to those of fruit intake. Of note, vegetable sources of potassium include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce, and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, and kidney beans. As excellent sources of fiber, vegetables can provide many gastrointestinal and cholesterol benefits as above. Also present are Vitamn A (good for vision) and Vitamin C ( needed for proper healing).

Link for health benefits of vegetables:


Link for what counts as a cup  of vegetables:


http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/vegetables.html – List of vegetables on the My Plate site.

Suggestions for eating vegetables include:

  1. Buying vegetables in season
  2. Buy easy-to-microwave frozen vegetables for quick use
  3. Consider pre-washed bags of vegetables such as grape tomatoes, carrots, or pre-made salads in a bag.
  4. Vary your vegetables.
  5. Sweet Potatoes have the best nutritional value.
  6. Be careful about adding sauces to your vegetables. Be certain they are low in sodium, saturated fat, and extra calories. Prepare foods from fresh ingredients with low sodium. Processed foods tend to have more salt and fat in them.
  7. Consider pasta and vegetables at meals. Consider vegetable stir-fry or soup and complement this with other foods.
  8. Try salads for lunch, be careful with adding dressings.
  9. Add a salad with dinner. Include vegetables in meats and in pasta sauces, such as in pasta sauce or lasagna.
  10. Puree potatoes and vegetables can be used to thicken stews, soups, and gravies.
  11. Try to eat vegetables using low fat dip as a snack.
  12. Carrot sticks, celery sticks, pepper strips, broccoli florets, and cucumber slices make great appetizers.
  13. Add beans and peas in your dishes, especially soups.

Vegetable tips as above: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/vegetables-tips.html

Beans and Peas:

Included beans are:

Kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), split peas and lentils – they provide iron and zinc. They are similar to the  meat, poultry, and fish group in the protein and substances they provide and are part of the Protein Foods Group. They are high in potassium, fiber,  and folate as are fruits and vegetables. Green peas, green lima beans, and green (string) beans are not considered to be part of the beans and peas subgroup. Green beans are grouped with other vegetables such as onions, lettuce, celery, and cabbage because their nutrient content is similar to those foods. If you eat fish, meat , and poultry, you can consider beans and peas to be part of the vegetable group, otherwise, for vegetarians, they count as the Protein group:

If the total is equal to or more than the suggested intake from the Protein Foods Group (which ranges from 2 ounce-equivalents at 1000 calories to 7 ounce-equivalents at 2800 calories and above) then count any beans or peas eaten as part of the beans and peas subgroup in the Vegetable Group.


If the total is less than the suggested intake from the Protein Foods Group, then count any beans and peas eaten toward the suggested intake level until it is reached. (One-fourth cup of cooked beans or peas counts as 1 ounce equivalent in the Protein Foods Group.) After the suggested intake level in the Protein Foods Group is reached, count any additional beans or peas eaten as part of the beans and peas subgroup in the Vegetable Group. (from Myplate.org website)

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/vegetables-beans-peas.html   <–Beans and Peas on MyPlate.


This group, on MyPlate, should be such that half of all grains eaten is from the whole grains selection. Wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, and barley are grain products. grains are divided into whole grains and refined grains.

Whole grains  are made of the entire grain kernel ― the bran, germ, and endosperm:

  • whole-wheat flour
  • bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • oatmeal
  • whole cornmeal
  • brown rice

Refined grains have been milled to remove the bran and germ, which improves the shelf life. This also removes nutrients, such as  fiber, iron, and B vitamins. Enriched grains add B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid) and iron but not fiber.

  • white flour
  • de-germed cornmeal
  • white bread
  • white rice

Grains on the My Plate regimen:

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/grains.html <Grains information at My Plate.

How Much Grain is an ounce equivalent at My Plate?:

1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal can be considered as 1 ounce equivalent from the Grains Group.

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/grains_counts_table.html  < – Ounce equivalent table for Grains.

Health benefits of Grains:

  1. Whole grains reduce cardiovascular disease, constipation,  and obesity. When fortified with folate, they help prevent neural tube defects in pregnancy.
  2. Dietary fiber reduces cholesterol levels, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. The fiber decreases diverticulosis and constipation.
  3. B vitamins in grains (thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin) help with metabolism, releasing energy from protein, fats, and carbohydrates, as well as maintaining the central nervous system.
  4. Folate plays a role in red blood cell formation.
  5. iron, magnesiuim, and selenium are minerals that play a role in general health, especially blood formation. Selenium is important in immune function. Magnesium is important in bone formation.

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/grains-why.html < –Health benefits of grains.

Ways to Increase more whole grains in your diet:

  1. Look for whole grain ingredients on the packaging:
      • brown rice
      • buckwheat
      • bulgur
      • millet
      • oatmeal
      • quinoa
      • rolled oats
      • whole-grain barley
      1. whole-grain corn
      2. whole-grain sorghum
      3. whole-grain triticale
      4. whole oats
      5. whole rye
      6. whole wheat
      7. wild rice
  2. “Multi-grain,” “stone-ground,” “100% wheat,” “cracked wheat,” “seven-grain,” or “bran” are usually not whole-grain products. Be aware of that.
  3. The Color of the product does not mean it is whole wheat as molasses can be added to give a coloring.
  4. Watch for added sugars in a whole grain product: sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, or raw sugar give extra unneeded calories.
  5. Watch the amount of sodium in the product. Foods with less than 140 mg sodium per serving can be labeled as low sodium foods. Claims such as “low in sodium” or “very low in sodium” mean the sodium is low enough not to worry.
  6. Consider popcorn without salt and butter as a healthy snack. Try  whole grain snack crackers and toasted oat cereal. Use whole grain flour or oatmeal to make cookies.
  7. Use whole wheat or oat flour to make pancakes, waffles, and muffins instead of regular flour.
  8. Eat whole-wheat bread in place of white bread.
  9. Try brown rice in place of white rice.
  10. It’s important to substitute the whole-grain products for the refined ones to increase healthfulness.
  11. Use whole-wheat pasta.
  12. Use whole grains in mixed dishes – i.e. barley in vegetable soup.

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/grains-tips.html  <-Whole wheat tips from My plate.

Protein Food Group:

All foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds are considered part of the Protein Foods Group. Beans and Peas are part of the vegetable group as well.

Goal: 8 ounces of seafood a week

Choose lean poultry and meat.

Vegetarians: Beans, peas, soy, nuts, and seeds are sufficient to provide protein.

Listed Protein and meat sources on My Plate web site:

  • Meats

    Lean cuts of:

    Game meats

    • bison
    • rabbit
    • venison

    Lean ground meats

    Lean luncheon or deli meats

    Organ meats

    • liver
    • giblets


    • chicken
    • duck
    • goose
    • turkey
    • ground chicken and turkey


    • chicken eggs
    • duck eggs

    Beans and peas

    • bean burgers
    • black beans
    • black-eyed peas
    • chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
    • falafel
    • kidney beans
    • lentils
    • lima beans (mature)
    • navy beans
    • pinto beans
    • soy beans
    • split peas
    • white beans

    Processed soy products

    • tofu (bean curd made from soybeans)
    • veggie burgers
    • tempeh
    • texturized vegetable protein (TVP)
    • Nuts and seeds*


      Finfish such as:

      • catfish
      • cod
      • flounder
      • haddock
      • halibut
      • herring
      • mackerel
      • pollock
      • porgy
      • salmon
      • sea bass
      • snapper
      • swordfish
      • trout
      • tuna

      Shellfish such as:

      • clams
      • crab
      • crayfish
      • lobster
      • mussels
      • octopus
      • oysters
      • scallops
      • squid (calamari)
      • shrimp

      Canned fish such as:

      • anchovies
      • clams
      • tuna
      • sardines

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/protein-foods.html < Protein sources on My Plate.

  1. Be certain to choose low fat meat or lean poultry. Regular ground beef (70-85% lean) and chicken with skin are higher fat items. They have empty calories that My Plate also discusses: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/weight-management-calories/calories/empty-calories.html
  2. Select foods with Omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, trout, sardines, anchovies, herring, Pacific oysters, and Atlantic and Pacific mackerel.
  3. Avoid using shortening or solid butter/margarine to fry your foods as that adds empty calories of fat.
  4. Processed meats such as sausage, hams, frankfurters have added salt.  Fresh chicken, turkey, and pork also may have salt added when it is process, so watch for a ‘self-basting’ notice on the package and observe the sodium content that is added.

How much Protein is needed a day? Here is the link:


In short, men need ~6 ounce equivalents of protein a day and women need ~5 ounce equivalents of protein a day. The attachment above outlines this. It is from the my plate website.

1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup cooked beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds can be considered as 1 ounce equivalent from the Protein Foods Group.  This is outlined in http://www.choosemyplate.gov/printpages/MyPlateFoodGroups/ProteinFoods/food-groups.protein-foods-counts.pdf

Nutritional effects of the protein group:

  1. Protein, B vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and B6), vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium are supplied from selections in this group.
  2. Iron is abundant in many of these items and is important to make red blood cells. Vitamin C helps the body absorb this iron.
  3. Magnesium is important for muscles and bone formation and is abundant in the protein group.
  4. Seafood has EPA and DHA  (omega-3 fatty acids ) with 8 ounces a week decreasing heart disease risk.
  5. Avoid  saturated fat: Protein items with this include fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb; regular (75% to 85% lean) ground beef; regular sausages, hot dogs, and bacon; some luncheon meats such as regular bologna and salami; and some poultry such as duck.
  6. Organ meats such as liver and giblets and egg yolk contain cholesterol that also is detrimental to your lipid profile. Limit these items as well.
  7. Seafood has a lot of health benefits. Increase their quantities in your diet.  Regarding concerns over mercury exposure, fish such as: Salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, Pacific oysters, trout, and Atlantic and Pacific mackerel are low in this. King Mackerel is high in mercury, so avoid it.
  8. Walnuts, almonds, and pistachios, when unsalted, improve cardiovascular health. Use small quantities to replace items like chicken and red meat, in part.

Sources: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/protein-foods-why.html < Nutritional benefits of proteins.

Health tips for proteins:

  1. Choose fish twice a week at least: The following are examples and have omega-3 fatty acids in them as well.
    1. Salmon steak or filet
    2. Salmon loaf
    3. Grilled or baked trout
  2. Have beans, peas, and soy as a main part of the meal:
    1. Chili with kidney or pinto beans
    2. Stir- fried tofu
    3. Split pea, lentil, minestrone, or white bean soups
    4. Baked beans
    5. Black bean enchiladas
    6. Garbanzo or kidney beans on a chef’s salad
    7. Rice and beans
    8. Veggie burgers
    9. Hummus (chickpeas) spread on pita bread
  3. Use unsalted nuts to replace a certain amount of meat and meat products.
  4. Keep your meat selections lean. Do not add breading, which adds calories and sucks up fat. Cut off visible fat on the meat before cooking and drain off excess fat after. Do not fry your foods. Add no fats to your beans and peas during preparations. Eat skinless poultry and choose lean cuts of beef. It should be at least 90% lean.
    1. The leanest beef cuts include round steaks and roasts (eye of round, top round, bottom round, round tip), top loin, top sirloin, and chuck shoulder and arm roasts.
      1. The leanest pork choices include pork loin, tenderloin, center loin, and ham.
  5. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/protein-foods-tips.html  <My Plate wise choices for protein that is healthy.


Fluid milk and anything made from milk is considered to be dairy product. Anything made from milk retains its calcium except for cream cheese, cream, and butter. Soy beverage is considered as part of the Dairy group as well.

  • Milk
    all fluid milk:

    • fat-free (skim)
    • low fat (1%)
    • reduced fat (2%)
    • whole milk
    • flavored milks:
      • chocolate
      • strawberry
    • lactose-reduced milks
    • lactose-free milks
  • Milk-based desserts

  • Calcium-fortified soymilk
    (soy beverage)

    • Cheese

      • hard natural cheeses:
      • soft cheeses:
        • ricotta
        • cottage cheese
      • processed cheeses:
        • American
    • Yogurt
      all yogurt:

      • fat-free
      • low fat
      • reduced fat
      • whole milk yogurt

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/dairy.html < Dairy products in My Plate.

  • Choose fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese to avoid extra fat and unnecessary calories.
  • Consider calcium-fortified soy milk if you are lactose intolerant. Other options include lactose-free milk.
  • Daily recommendation
    Children 2-3 years old 2 cups
    4-8 years old 2 ½ cups
    Girls 9-13 years old 3 cups
    14-18 years old 3 cups
    Boys 9-13 years old 3 cups
    14-18 years old 3 cups
    Women 19-30 years old 3 cups
    31-50 years old 3 cups
    51+ years old 3 cups
    Men 19-30 years old 3 cups
    31-50 years old 3 cups
    51+ years old 3 cups

The daily recommendations of dairy from My Plate website are above. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/dairy-amount.html

1 cup of milk, yogurt, or soymilk (soy beverage), 1 ½ ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese can be considered as 1 cup from the Dairy Group

Amount That Counts as a Cup in the Dairy Group Common Portions and Cup Equivalents
(choose fat-free or low-fat milk)
1 cup milk
1 half-pint container milk
½ cup evaporated milk
(choose fat-free or low-fat yogurt)
1 regular container
(8 fluid ounces)
1 small container
(6 ounces) = ¾ cup
1 cup yogurt 1 snack size container
(4 ounces) = ½ cup
(choose reduced-fat or low-fat cheeses)
1 ½ ounces hard cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss, Parmesan) 1 slice of hard cheese is equivalent to ½ cup milk
⅓ cup shredded cheese
2 ounces processed cheese (American) 1 slice of processed cheese is equivalent to ⅓ cup milk
½ cup ricotta cheese
2 cups cottage cheese ½ cup cottage cheese is equivalent to ¼ cup milk
Milk-based desserts
(choose fat-free or low-fat types)
1 cup pudding made with milk
1 cup frozen yogurt
1 ½ cups ice cream 1 scoop ice cream is equivalent to ⅓ cup milk
(soy beverage)
1 cup calcium-fortified soymilk
1 half-pint container calcium-fortified soymilk


http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/dairy-counts.html < Dairy Daily recommendations.


Oils are included in the USDA food pattern, not because they are a food group, but rather because of their nutritional value. They are liquid at room temperature. Most oils are polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats, with little saturated fats (bad fat) . Oils from plant sources (vegetable and nut oils) have no cholesterol.  Coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil are high in saturated fats and are considered to be solid fats for nutritional purposes. Common oils are:

  • canola oil
  • corn oil
  • cottonseed oil
  • olive oil
  • safflower oil
  • soybean oil
  • sunflower oil

Nuts, olives, fish, and avocados are foods that are high in oil.

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/oils.html <-oils covered in the my plate site.

Solid fats are solid at room temperature (beef fat, butter, and shortening). These are derived from animals primarily although vegetable oils can be hydrogenated to become solid fats. Solid fats tend to have more saturated fats, which raise the bad LDL cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.   Solid fats include:

  • butter
  • milk fat
  • beef fat (tallow, suet)
  • chickenfat
  • cream
  • pork fat (lard)
  • stick margarine
  • shortening
  • hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils*
  • coconut oil*
  • palm and palm kernel oils*

Foods with saturated and trans-fats to cut back on include:

  • many desserts and baked goods, such as cakes, cookies, donuts, pastries, and croissants
  • many cheeses and foods containing cheese, such as pizza
  • sausages, hot dogs, bacon, and ribs
  • ice cream and other dairy desserts
  • fried potatoes (French fries) – if fried in a solid fat or hydrogenated oil
  • regular ground beef and cuts of meat with marbling or visible fat
  • fried chicken and other chicken dishes with the skin

Solid fats and oils provide the same number of calories per gram, but oils are healthier because they have less saturated and trans-fats than the solid fats listed above. This decreases the risk of heart disease in a relative manner. Remember that partially hydrogenated vegetable oils may be high in trans-fats.  Trans fats can be found in many cakes, cookies, crackers, icings, margarines, and microwave popcorns.

Remember that oils are the major source of Polyunsaturated (PUFA) and monounsaturated fats (MUFA) in the diet. PUFA contains essential fats for our body that are necessary to survive. The MUFAs and PUFAs found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils do not raise LDL. Oils and solid fats contain 120 calories per tablespoon.

What is your daily allowance of oils? ~ 6 tablespoons a day of oil for adult men and ~ 5 tablespoons a day for women. See the PDF guide from myplate attached:


Information of oil content in food is attached:


Avoid added sugars. The following are ingredients that count as added sugars:

  • anhydrous dextrose
  • brown sugar
  • confectioner’s powdered sugar
  • corn syrup
  • corn syrup solids
  • dextrose
  • fructose
  • high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  • honey
  • invert sugar
  • lactose
  • malt syrup
  • maltose
  • maple syrup
  • molasses
  • nectars (e.g., peach nectar, pear nectar)
  • pancake syrup
  • raw sugar
  • sucrose
  • sugar
  • white granulated sugar
  • cane juice, evaporated corn sweetener, fruit juice concentrate, crystal dextrose, glucose, liquid fructose, sugar cane juice, and fruit nectar

The following link discusses how to read the ingredient labels on foods: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/eat-right/nutrition-facts.htm

A link discussing examples of foods and their empty calories is as follows: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/emptycalories_count_table.html

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/weight-management-calories/calories/solid-fats.html  <-Solid fat discussions.

What are empty calories – from my plate: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/weight-management-calories/calories/added-sugars.html




Insane Medicine – Keep your muscle mass maximized at all ages!!!

Insane Medicine - Keep your muscle mass throughout life!
Insane Medicine – Keep your muscle mass throughout life!
  • As we get older, we lose muscle mass. This mass decreases rapidly during times of illness and hospitalizations, which is why grandma may enter the hospital for an infection and never leave her bed again! Her muscles were minimally compensated as were, and after an illness, there is not enough muscle power left for everyday activities, like getting out of bed!!
  • Muscle-strengthening exercises preserve muscle mass but must be combined with adequate dietary protein intake.
  • Sarcopenia (the loss of muscle mass) results in poor muscle strength, increasing the risk of falls and lack of independence.
  • There is an association between protein intake and muscle mass that varies with physical activity. Women need 46 grams of protein a day, men need 56 grams of protein a day. The exact amount is variable depending on a number of factors, but 0.8 grams of protein is needed per 2.2 pounds (one kg). If you are obese, more protein may be helpful.
  • You need High quality protein! Meat, poultry, and fish are complete sources, and the only vegetable source that is complete is soy.
  • Complete protein sources have all the essential amino acids. Grains are not complete because they are low in lysine, while legumes are low in methionine. Grains and legumes are still excellent sources of protein.
  • You need to combine high intakes of beef and pork with vigorous aerobic activity to obtain the highest muscle mass. Exercises that are excellent include swimming, cycling, running, and aerobics classes at least 30 minutes a day. You need to break a sweat!
  • If you don’t use it, you lose it!!
  • Lose unnecessary weight – Losing even ten percent of your body weight gives health benefits that last a decade and decrease diabetes risk by 50%! It also decreases hypertension and sleep apnea. Weight loss decreases the stress on your knees and hips, allowing you to maintain mobility and independence.
  • Try to get 30 minutes of physical activity a day – consider getting a pedometer or fit-bit to monitor your activity and encourage movement.  Low activity is less than 3500 steps a day ( a mile is 2000 steps) Those who walk more, had lower diabetes risk. Also, the more you move, the less pain you have!