Pre-Activity 1A: Fad Diets and Nutrient Needs

Introduce this lesson with a discussion of fad diets. Ask the students to identify as many fad diets as they can. Ask the students to consider whether any of these fad diets enable teenagers to receive proper nutrition. Are there special nutritional needs during the teen years? Are the nutrient needs the same for teenage males and females? Are nutrient needs the same as we age?
Background Information for the Teacher:
Identify the nutrients:carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals,and water. Discuss how only the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins provide calories (a unit of energy measurement). Refer to the "Food Pyramid" handout as a guideline to follow to ensure nutrient needs are met. Explain to the students they will be examining the recommended daily allowances by the U.S.Department of Agriculture for protein, iron, calcium, and calories. Discuss sources of protein, iron,and calcium while examining the Food Pyramid. Have references available in the classroom that pertain to important sources and functions of these nutrients. The teacher will want to review bar graphing skills with the students. The students will interpret recommended daily allowances for calories, protein, iron,and calcium. Inform the students that the RDAs for adolescents are not based on experimental data from adolescents, but, from studies of younger children or adults, derived from results of animal experiments, or based on intakes that have been found to be associated with good health and optimal growth. Emphasize to the students that the RDAs serve as useful general guidelines.
NOTE: This activity is based on the 1992 USDA food guide pyramid.
See http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ for the current USDA food guide. 

Food guide pyramid, fad diet, RDA, nutrition, nutrient, recommended dietary allowance, carbohydrate, fat, protein, vitamin, mineral, water, iron, calcium, calorie, graph, bar graph


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Activity Code: 
Unit Reference: 
Nutrition and Aging
Lesson Reference: 
Lesson 1: Adolescent Nutrition