Monday, November 30, 2009

Human Nutrient Needs

What nutrients does a person need per day?
I am not a dietician or indeed sober so don't take this as actual advice. But what does ten minutes googling give as a list of the needed nutrients?
This is item 1 of the list of things to do for a modern version of Stigler's diet. Wikipedia the universal source of all truth (TM) italic has an article on this here.

It gives the RDA for an average 25-year old male (for ones that use IU which appears to be nonsense so I have taken some figures from here and here)
all figures are in ยตg

param RDA:=
Vitamin_A 900
Vitamin_C 90000
Vitamin_D 5
Vitamin_K 120
Vitamin_B6 1300
Vitamin_E 15000
Biotin 30
Calcium 1000000
Chloride 2300000
Chromium 35
Choline 550000
Copper 900
Cyanocobalamin 2.4
Fluoride 4000
Folate 400
Iodine 150
Iron 8000
Magsium 400000
Mangase 2300
Molybdenum 45
Niacin 16000
Nickel 1000
Pantothenic_acid 5000
Phosphorus 700000
Potassium 4700000
Riboflavin 1300
Selenium 55
Sodium 1500000
Thiamin 1200
Zinc 11000
;

And the upper limit as

param UL:=
Vitamin_A 3000
Vitamin_C 2000000
Vitamin_D 50
Vitamin_B6 100000
Vitamin_E 1000000
Boron 20000
Calcium 2500000
Chloride 3600000
Choline 3500000
Copper 10000
Fluoride 10000
Folate 1000
Iodine 1100
Iron 45000
Magsium 350000
Mangase 11000
Molybdenum 2000
Niacin 35000
Nickel 1000
Phosphorus 4000000
Selenium 400
Sodium 2300000
Zinc 40000
;

The figures we are interested in are RDA's which must be met and Tolerable upper intake levels which cannot be exceded.
Macro nutrients are in grams

param Macro:
Waterb 3700
Carbohydrates 130
Proteinc 56
Fiber 38
Linoleic 17
alpha-Linolenic 1.6
end;

Also some nutrients must be minimised Cholesterol, Trans fatty acids, Saturated fatty acids. These will have to be aims of a optimiser for diets.
These are a bit more difficult to deal with so I will ignore them for the moment.
Cholesterol As low as possible
Trans fatty acids As low as possible
Saturated fatty acids As low as possible

Also two types of macro nutrients must be a % of calories.
Added sugar No more than 25% of calories
Fat 20–35% of calories

I am going to guess a 25 year old male needs 2500 calories until I am corrected.
So we have a first approximation of what nutrients people need.

So next up is getting a price and nutrient contents for loads of different foods.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Diet Problem

What is the cheapest way to feed yourself? This is not a minor issue our diets and health could be much better if they were optimised to provide the most needed nutrients at the smallest cost and also to provide the most palatable diet that is as healthy as possible.

Stigler in 1939 worked out a near optimal miminum price needed to supply a person with the nutrients they need for a year. The diet consists of five not very pleasant foods so is not intended to be realistic dietry advice.

Still given current knowledge of nutrition a list of prices from various supermarkets could you optimise you shopping basket to provide your family with groceries? Here we want to give people the nutrients they need in a form they will actually eat that is healthy and cheap.

We need a list of
1. What nutrients are needed by a person
2. Foods preferences of people.
3. A price list of foods
4. A Linear program to optimize a shopping basket based on these variables.

All of these requirements need some explanation. I think its best if each gets it's own post. So tomorrow I will have a post on what quantities of nutrients people require. If you have any suggestions please comment.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

215 is the first Wikipedia dull number

I have always wanted my own constant and now for a short period I have one. Imagine numbers were 'interesting' or 'dull'. The first dull number would be interesting because it was the first dull number so no dull number can exist. So all number are interesting.
Now you would think any interesting number would be notable enough to have its own wikipedia page. The first number without a wikipedia page is 215. This should be notable enough to deserve a wikipedia page. So as long as 215 has no wikipedia page it is dull and thus as the first non notable number it is notable. The paradoxes of wikipedia notability were brought up here.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Counting money across cultures

One great bit in the execrable Inglorious Basterds was where someone noticed that Germans and British people make the sign for three in different ways. I love these cultural comparisons that show how arbitrary much of what we do is. I looked at information from laces here

This is a video showing how money is counted in different countries.


How People Count Cash? - Click here for more free videos

I have heard Japanese people ring out clothes differently to the rest of the world but can find no evidence of this in spite of asking a few of them. Do you know of any other cultural differences?