Wednesday, 31 January 2007

A Double Plus Good?

I posted a question briefly on this subject yesterday and then removed it for fear of over-posting on my day and being neurotic. But researching last night didn't bring me any satisfactory answers!

I had planned to eat sweet potato for dinner last night. Baked, in its jacket, in all its orangey gooey deliciousness (this was how I was managing my sweet craving yeserday, I had factored it in!). Which I hadn't factored in was the sheer amount of Vitamin A I had lined up to ingest in yesterday's foods. As it happens, I'd entered sweet potato into CoM first and was so wowed by the vitamin line going wheeee! that I didn't stop to think that practically everything else I eat is high in A too.

Yesterday would have been 3393% of my RDA in A if I'd kept to the plan. That's quite a big number, isn't it? :-) In the end I freaked out a little and replaced my planned meal with an impromptu quorn in tomato sauce casserole and ended the day on 1023 cals, not including the 5oz glass of Rioja I had as (another) treat.

But the Vitamin A...OK, so it's all beta-carotene A, so the worst that would happen is that I'd get a little orangey if I kept that up, I think. But am I right? Should I be aiming for far less A? More of a balance? A balance of what with what? Where can I find out? What do the numbers mean? Does a red line = WARNING WARNING OVERDOSE IMMINENT? *wail*

Anyway, waste not want not. I just ate the sweet potato I baked yesterday for my breakfast this morning. Warmed slightly in the microwave, with 50g plain yoghurt and nuts and seeds on top. Yum!

But I'm not sure what else I will be eating today. I've planned it out in CoM but it looks haphazard and unappetizing, not to mention approx. 2500% in A again (and that's even with deleting out the 100g kale). I guess I will see how hungry I get. After my sweet potato fix, I don't really have the will to think about it!

I must, however, summmon the will for the gym...

LATER... I am confusing RDA with safe upper limit. Doh. I blame the insomnia. Clearly sweet potatoes would come with a health warning if they contained dangerous amounts of A, as would a pitiful 100g of spinach! So I shall worry not... unless?

6 comments:

methylsalicylate said...

I think since you're a vegetarian you should be okay, beta-carotene does not usually cause toxicity. Vegetable-origin A is different to animal-origin A (i.e. A from animal sources is actual A, whereas from plant sources it is a chemical allowing the production of A). As someone who has experienced the effects of retinol overdose due to pharmaceutical treatment, that results in liver damage that will show up as changes in cholesterol & triglycerides in your blood tests. Apart from taking roaccutane or mainlining eggs, most vegetarians will never have that happen to them.

Sara said...

Thank you, that's brilliant to know... Another reason to find alternative sources of protein to the dreaded egg whites! I've certainly been eating more eggs (whites only) than ever before this month but I'm sure it's not to the point of toxicity. Your posts have even lured me back to Quorn...

methylsalicylate said...

I think the A is only in the egg yolk. If you just eat the whites (checks C-o-M quickly), yes, there's no A there.

Sara said...

Again, thanks! I should have thought to check CoM myself for the eggwhites / A thing...

So now all I need fear is being orange! :-)

April said...

Yes, what she said. The A is in the yolks. You're fine with lots of beta carotene from food, just don't take it in your supplements.

I wish you could come to the gathering in March! We hope to meet you at the CR Conference in November if not before!

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Sara said...

April - if I feel less of an amateur about the whole CR thing by November, it may be a possibility! I haven't wrangled with INS at an airport for over a year now. They'll be mising me. :-)