Men are getting wiser about nutrition


July 07, 1992|By Colleen Pierre, R.D. | Colleen Pierre, R.D.,Contributing Writer

Changing the way we eat isn't easy, but men really are catching on to food and nutrition issues.

While out for my morning run recently, I noticed a ruggedly handsome young man walking to work. Judging by his shorts, great legs, sturdy musculature and the early hour, I'd say he was a construction worker.

And he was carrying an insulated lunch bag. What a great way to prevent food poisoning!

At a party last weekend, a couple of young-husband types launched into a nutrition/food discussion.

One described how he'd learned to cook and eat more nutritionally (small portions of meat, more starches, more

veggies) by hanging out in Greek and Chinese restaurants while living in Chicago.

He has since improved his mother's cooking by instruction and example!

The other did a dissertation on how to improve the palatability of vegetables with herbs, spices and sauces. He also mentioned that he reads the label on everything when he shops.

A 60-ish man whom I counsel has broken his lifetime habit of avoiding anything that has to do with food preparation and has actually learned to shop for fruits and vegetables. With a few solid guidelines on aroma, shape, weight-for-size, color, texture and firmness, he can choose the most delicious melons and pineapples in town.

These real-life examples provide interesting confirmation of survey results recently released by the American Dietetic Association (ADA).

ADA's second annual men's nutrition survey shows that fellows between the ages of 25 and 49 are even more concerned about nutrition than they were just one year ago.

Seventy-one percent consider nutrition a "top priority," up from 59 percent a year ago. Eighty-seven percent expressed at least some concern about nutrition, up from 80 percent last year.

PD Interestingly enough, their reasons have shifted somewhat, and I

think the focus is more positive.

Last year 44 percent said it was a matter of good health or disease prevention. This year, only 35 percent gave that answer.

This year the fitness reason is up, from 20 percent to 28 percent.

When it comes to what they're actually doing, here's what they said:

Twenty-seven per cent are eating less fat, 14 percent are eating less cholesterol, 10 percent are cutting back on sodium, 10 percent are eating more vegetables and 5 percent are eating more fruit.

As a survey follow-up, ADA is offering a toll-free hot line for men with questions about eating right, at (800) 366-1655. Callers also an request a nutrition reading list and a free copy of ADA's "Food Strategies for Men." The pamphlet and reading list are also available by writing to the National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics, 216 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago 60606-6995.

Colleen Pierre, a registered dietitian, is the nutrition consultant to the Union Memorial Sports Medicine Center in Baltimore.

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