How are we all still alive?

I just started using cronometer and I can't believe all the gaps in my nutrition. To get all the vitamins and minerals you need, you really do need to eat some dark leafy greens and an orange/yellow vegetable every day, as well as a lot of other healthy foods.

But I know that most Americans are eating fast food and drinking soda -- how are they even alive??? I'm freaking out just finding out how hard it is to get enough potassium every day. I don't know how the anti-vegetable set does it.


  • edited August 2018

    doctors have gotten good at treating malnutrition? lol, cardiologists, diabetes and such...

    took me a few months to figure out how to hit my needs with food...i ended up pretty much cutting out meat, and started eating lots of seeds, by what ever you want to call them...beans,seeds, grains....nuts are out of my price range though or i'd eat them too...

    check out my Granola recipe in the General Nutrition forum...that was the culmination of my learning curve...

    I am an amateur. I've been using CRON-O-Meter for 10 years and counting, still learning.....

  • There are other sources for nutrients, such as organ meats. But, there arent too many types of eating plans out there that dont encourage some level of vegetable consumption, especially leafy greens.

    The human body is pretty resilient. You can beat the hell out of it and it will mostly recover, to a point. However, just like anything else, that doesnt always happen. Of course, Im exaggerating, but the body is capable of healing itself given the proper fuel and nutrition. @bracconiere is right though - the medical field does have their tricks, but I might suggest - being down the road as a patient - there is no substitution for eating properly. Its definitely a learning experience for sure.

    In cases where its hard to get nutrients due to whatever circumstances, either because eating veggies isnt providing enough nutrients due to a vitamin deficiency or you simply cannot tolerate the sources available (I have this issue because a lot of veggies spike my blood sugar - which necessitates more insulin), then supplementation is often the immediate answer. Obviously not ideal, but it at least provides the extra nutrients that you're not getting or using them as an avenue to balance out so that getting nutrients from food is a reasonable option.

    Every time I take a break from food logging, I always find gaps in my nutrition somewhere, even from the times I thought I was doing really well. There's always something to learn.


  • When people think of malnutrition, they often picture an individual that is extremely thin. In today's world, malnutrition can (and does!) affect people of all sizes. What I most love about Cronometer is it's ability to reflect our overall diet quality.

    Regarding potassium, don't worry about hitting 100% of the target. The level that was set for this nutrient is an "AI" or an amount that is assumed to be adequate. Most healthcare professionals are happy if you reach 60-70% of the requirement of this nutrient.

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • i agree with @Susan_RD_101 , i don't worry too much about potassium OR far as i know they just help carry electricity through your blood....that's why they call them electrolytes...

    But i do use lite salt instead of regular for a little boost of potassium....

    I am an amateur. I've been using CRON-O-Meter for 10 years and counting, still learning.....

  • Having suffered with chronic low sodium, magnesium and Potassium I beg to differ on the above explanation that these elements "just carry electricity through your blood" That electricity is what runs every muscle in your body, including the heart. My low levels of these caused ice pica which was only abated after keeping my levels steady. Also I had occasional heart palipitations. My father was hospitalized for low K with "heart attack-like symptoms" Very scary, and possibly we have this chronic low K as a genetic predisposition, however, beware where you get your information. I am not a doctor either. I just wanted to share an experience with low levels of these.

  • @iggy i know that muscles, including the brain run on that's just the only time i've heard of 'low' electrolyte levels was some woman that died from drinking too much water in a radio competition, from her brain swelling...

    i'd be curious to hear what your diet is to suffer from low levels? as far as i know most people's bodies, like blood ph, fight to the last breath to keep the levels constant...or in a very narrow range.

    I would say i do eat between 1200mg and 4000mg of sodium and potassium a day.

    and i add dolomite to my granola, which is half magnesium carbonate....

    guess we'll both have to wait for @Susan_RD_101 to talk about low levels of electrolytes on monday when she makes her rounds....

    I am an amateur. I've been using CRON-O-Meter for 10 years and counting, still learning.....

  • edited September 2018

    The brain swelling is explained by osmosis. In particular if the concentration of Na (that's how the word hyponatremia comes about by the way: hypo = low/below; natrium = olden day word for sodium)... where was I? Oh, if Na concentration outside cells is lower than normal, the balance between the Na concentration inside cells and outside cells gets all out of whack. Because the Na ions cannot diffuse directly across cell membranes and the fluids, inside and outside the cells, "want" to be the same concentration water moves instead. I.e. When Na concentration is lower outside the cell water moves into the cell so that the Na concentration outside the cell increases, and the Na concentration inside the cell decreases. This, osmosis, is how the concentration of the two fluid compartments becomes more equal. The problem is that water moving into the cells make the cells larger (they swell) and if the amount of water is great enough (i.e. the concentration outside the cells was low enough at the beginning) there is a risk that they can rupture. So drinking so much water that you dilute your extracellular fluid signficantly isn't a great idea.


  • edited September 2018

    i know about osmosis, but never heard about anyone actually having low sodium levels eating a 'normal' diet, and am curious about it....

    i actually have a roll of dialysis tubing for osmosis to remove salts from water...but keep protein inside the tubing...for protein purification....a failed experiment i tried to extract enzymes from stuff....ammonium sulfate conc.'s will precipitate different enzymes, but i never had any luck with it myself...

    i was actually trying to extract phytase from yeast to degrade phytic acid....

    I am an amateur. I've been using CRON-O-Meter for 10 years and counting, still learning.....

  • @bracconiere I just mentioned osmosis because you brought up hyponatremia and to emphasise that electrolytes are important (probably more important) for other normal cell processes than moving electricity around. The movement of ions (and other molecules, many of which require Na to drag them across) across the cell membrane is kind of critical to life ;)


  • Great and very scientific discussion on here!

    @bracconiere is right; it would be unusual for someone eating a normal, healthy diet to have abnormal levels of electrolytes. Occasionally, we might see a slightly high sodium in someone's bloodwork, but this is often because the person fasted before the bloodwork and avoided water (which, in most cases, you can drink before bloodwork).

    Conditions that would throw off your electrolyte balance are:

    • Congestive heart failure
    • Kidney disease
    • Excessive vomiting
    • Excessive diarrhea
    • Dehydration
    • Over-hydration

    Regular bloodwork is essential, especially as we get older, if your electrolytes are abnormal, its vital to take supplements prescribed by your MD to correct them.

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

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