Overeating Means Overheating

Calories Must be Watched to Avoid Summer Discomfort

By Ethel Heaberlin, B. S. Foods and Diet Editor

Hot weather and common sense in eating habits should run a parallel course. Contrary to popular belief, appetite in its varying degrees of intensity is not an inviolable standard for ingestion of food. (However, physiological needs may often be expressed by the patient and should be respected. This is commonly seen in animals who will go miles to a salt lick). The plump office man will lunch with relish on thick steak, French-fried potatoes, apple pie and cheese, but later in the afternoon will blame the hot July weather for his inefficiency. The thin stenographer, wilted long before the time clock ends her working day, in all probability does not realize that the few calories in her hot weather lunch of tomato salad and iced tea will not give adequate energy for a long afternoon of typing. Although one is met with a variability of nutritional requirements, it will be of benefit to review our present knowledge and outline a method in which nutritional requirements may be met.

Foodstuff may be divided into two major groups: those foods that supply calories or energy to the body, and those that replace the parts of body tissues lost by wear and tear. Carbohydrates and fats are the terms used to designate energy foods; proteins is that class of foods which supply structural requirements.

Basal metabolism is the starting point from which proceed all computations of man’s needs. The lowest rate of energy exchange in the body occurs at complete rest and without food and is known as basal metabolism. The estimation of an individual’s basal metabolic rate can be roughly calculated from his body weight, but to be scientifically correct, surface area is the only accurate criterion. During and after exercise, metabolism is increased. The ingestion of energy foods supply this need. The ordinary adult requires approximately 20 calories per pound. To determine a person’s fuel requirement is today simplified mathematics. Total energy liberated per day by a man of a given age, weight, height, while engaged in a known activity, can be calculated easily. Basal metabolism is the starting point, and the calories needed for specific activities are added thereto.  Situating on a chair increases the rate about 10%. Typewriting results in a 30 to 70% increase. Foods, too, increase metabolic rate, a liberal meal of beefsteak may increase the rate up to 33%. Usually, to the basal metabolism one may add 10% for this specific dynamic action of foods. However, from tables already estimated for various kinds of activities one may judge needs accurately enough in normal dietaries. For example, the average clerical worker needs 2700 calories; a carpenter engaged in heavier muscular activity needs 3500 calories.

Carbohydrates, made up of grain products, such as bread, vegetables, potatoes, fruits and bananas, are the most economical and available sources of energy. Carbohydrates give approximately half as much energy as fats, but from a physiological point of view, are superior to fats.

How much protein does a person need? There is a wide divergence of opinion on this subject. 40 to 50 grams of protein daily as the minimum, up to 120 grams daily as the maximum have been advocated by nutritionists. An average of the two figures will possibly be the optimum amount to use daily. 40 grams daily gives a choice of approximately only two eggs or one small serving of meat a day. 120 grams of protein in the daily dietary indicates two to three eggs. Plus a large serving of meat at both dinner and supper meals.

Because steamer food list of fresh vegetables and fruits is plentifully supplied with vitamins and minerals, the average dietary is more than adequately arrived during the summer season with these nutritional necessities.

The average obese person forgets that hot July weather with its ensuing decrease of activity will leave calorie needs even more than a cold day in January and eats merrily on. A thin person, whose appetite isn’t of the best even after jumping off and on a ski slide in snappy January weather, just loses all his appetite in summer. Iced tea, however refreshing will not add firm flesh to skinny ribs. Both extremes of persons should watch their calorie needs carefully.

Industrial fatigue of lack of efficiency at various periods during the day has been investigated by Dr. Howard Haggard and Dr. Leon Greenberg of Yale University. Approaching the subject from another angle of when we should eat instead of studies on what or how much, the Yale physiologists conclude “that muscular efficiency depends largely upon the length of time since the last meal.” Measuring muscular efficiency throughout the day, hour by hour, it was found that the before breakfast level of efficiency is usually the lowest of the day. “After a meal of mixed diet—carbohydrates, protein, and fat—the efficiency curve rose rapidly until about the end of the first hour and then slowly declined, within three to five hours, to the before breakfast level.” To increase the cheerfulness and efficiency of workers, Dr. Haggard suggests “moderate sized, well-balanced meals, with between meal lunches (as a patient is advised to calculate these extra meals, as part of the day’s total intake and not in addition to the usual amount of food eaten.