What in the World Does That Mean in Dog Years?

As a nutritionist, I know how much a gram is, but realistically how many everyday consumers know?

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Here is an actual quote from an Arizona Republic Newspaper article I read one morning: “The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends endurance athletes consume approximately 0.64 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily. For a 150-pound runner, this amounts to about 96 grams of protein. Most cuts of beef have about 7 grams of protein per ounce.”

. . . SAY WHAT???? That is why I hated algebra – it didn’t seem practical! Give me business math any day – something I can use in the grocery store or a checkbook.

It is very frustrating to listen to some well-known dietitians on early morning television programs encourage viewers to “eat only this many fat grams” or “consume only 2,000 milligrams” to achieve a healthier lifestyle. They never get around to explaining what a gram/milligram is and the viewer’s eyes glaze over. How exasperating that must be for many listeners!

I have yet to hear a nutritional expert explain grams so the average dieter can identify and realize how it relates to them. Sometimes I want to shout at the TV: please say what it means to them in “dog years”! You know what I mean . . . if I said my dog is 11 years old, in human terms, he’s the equivalent of 77. You can understand why he’s a little stiff in the joints. You can relate to it.

As a nutritionist, I know how much a gram is, but realistically how many everyday consumers know? I’d surmise not many. Sometimes listening to these experts is like deciphering a foreign language with the Rosetta stone.


Let’s keep it simple, shall we?

4 grams equals approximately 1 teaspoon.

Relatable, right? Everyone knows how much a teaspoon is. Now let’s see if I can clarify this even further with an illustration:

Imagine you are drinking a bottle of cola and the label states: Sugar: 36 grams. Divide 36 by 4 grams and you get 9 teaspoons of sugar per serving. Now it makes sense. (Caution: check serving sizes!)

Use visualization skills to help you. Try counting it out in your head; one, two, three, four, and so on. You wouldn’t think of adding teaspoon after teaspoon of sugar onto salad or onto your sub sandwich, but that, in essence, is what you are doing every time you drink a soda with your meal.

If you would like a cold drink similar to a soda without all the sugar, try this: get a glass of ice and a can of pure flavored seltzer water (not with aspartame.) There’s no sodium in seltzer water. Pour the seltzer water over ice, add orange, pomegranate, grape, cherry, or some other good quality juice, and you’ve created a refreshing drink with a lot less sugar but containing some beneficial nutrients.

Be conscious of how many unnecessary empty calories you consume each day. Sugar has no nutritional value, but it does give us some momentary eating pleasure. God created sugar and stevia. He didn’t create artificial sweeteners, man did. It’s not harmful to eat a little sugar.

The brain feeds primarily on glucose, a natural sugar derived from carbohydrates. Studies are currently being conducted on whether artificial sugars trick the brain into believing more calories are on the way. The pancreas would then over-compensate by releasing insulin, expecting more food will come. If that’s the case, a normal dieter would need Herculean willpower to remain steadfast, resisting the temptation to give in.

I would urge you to consume regular sugar and never consume artificial sugars, which have the propensity to destroy our bodily temple through their chemical makeup. Chemicals cannot be metabolized in the body. They remain in the liver and never, ever leave! Over time your liver becomes a chemistry lab. You realize what happens when too many clashing chemicals converge in a test tube, right? An unsafe reaction occurs. In this case, the test tube is your body and you become acidic.

Discipline yourself to control sugar cravings by choosing wisely and avoiding processed carbs such as donuts whenever possible. If sugar is a trigger food (meaning you cannot stop at a taste), avoid sugar altogether.

Any food is fine in moderation and simple sugars are not off-limits. Neither is a soda every once in a while, but why fill your body repeatedly with something void of nutrients while the phosphorus in soft drinks gradually depletes your precious bone structure?

“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but I will not be mastered by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Primarily consume quality nutrients found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts, and your body will not crave unnecessary junk food!


Imagine This Outlandish Cartoonish Scenario:

Someone carries a calculator to the grocery store to compute how much protein they consumed each day: There’s a protein in dairy so I must calculate how many grams of protein percentage was in that butter and milkshake I just consumed . . . but wait, there’s also carbohydrates and fats in butter and milk . . . and oh, don’t forget, there’s fat in avocados as well as protein, so what percentage of that avocado salad do I add onto that which I already consumed, . . . and how much was I supposed to consume again? I forgot!

You get the idea. What a complicated hassle! You would always need a calculator to tally everything! That’s not what God intended.

How many normal people are going to transform grams into amounts they can identify with as they consistently eat throughout the day? That takes a lot of additional mental power. Can you imagine counting every fat gram that goes into your body daily? I certainly don’t advise my patients to do so.

Nearly every single food breaks down into a protein, fat, and carbohydrate combination so keeping track accurately is nearly impossible.

Important: No matter what size one is, a person only needs approximately 6-8 ounces of meat daily! Too much protein can overtax the kidneys, harm the liver, and affect enzymes.

Calculating everything requires constant diligence and discipline, which is the root cause of why many dieters get into trouble in the first place! If you are a perfectionist, you will feel like a failure when you make mistakes and probably give up in frustration.

Bottom Line: It would be unrealistic to count every single gram of food someone places in their mouth over a lifetime! So, choose a medium size dinner plate. Visualize 5x more vegetables on your plate than 4 ounces of meat. Isn’t that much easier to calculate? Don’t fret; vegetables also contain some protein as well as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants to help prevent disease.

God placed Adam in a Garden for a reason – because that’s where all the nutrients to sustain a healthy lifestyle begin! He didn’t create mankind to become frustrated about eating well! Honor Him by honoring and appreciating your earthly temple.


Written by Ellie Marrandette

This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Christian Grandfather Magazine

Featured Image by Morgane Perraud on Unsplash

The views and opinions expressed by Kingdom Winds Collective Members, authors, and contributors are their own and do not represent the views of Kingdom Winds LLC.

About the Author

We desire to stir up grandfathers to continue leading—to share the gospel—to help one another in doing so. Christian Grandfather Magazine publishes faith-building articles from a variety of writers to encourage a closer spiritual bond with God, your wife, your children, and your grandchildren.

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