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The afterlife reduces to nothing more than human speculation and conjecture. The life that you are living right now is real. Therefore, it would behoove you to make the most of this one chance at life on Earth that you know is real. It would behoove you to make the most of the here and now because the afterlife is not guaranteed. A peculiar thing about life is that there are no guarantees. One day you can be among the living, and the next day you can be among the deceased. Where does it leave you? It leaves you to make the most of the one life you know that you have right now.

The "Good Life," "Prosperity for All," and "More Money" pages of this website examined various ways to attain prosperity in life. The "Food for All" page of this website stressed the importance of adequate food for all humans in sustaining life. This page examines several ways to attain longevity in life. What are some of the drivers of good health and a long life? There is general consensus by experts in the medical field of study that a good diet and regular exercise are two of the most important components of living a long, healthy, and high quality of life.

Life expectancy at birth | Data | Table | World Bank | 2013
Tag Cloud Image Credit representing World Bank's 2013 data of life expectancy at birth: Wordle

NOTE: The bigger the text size in the above image means the longer is a country's life expectancy rate.

The book The Age of Homo Sapiens Sapiens: Heaven or Hell is about human survival and the preservation of life on Earth. One way to preserve life is to examine the causes of death. The opposite of life is death. To understand the secret of life or to avoid death, a good starting point would be to examine some of the causes of death. If you are careful to avoid some of these leading causes of death, then the likelihood increases of you living a long and healthy life.

The table below lists the 15 leading causes of death in the USA during the year 2013.

15 Leading Causes of Death in the USA (Year 2013)
Count 15 Leading Causes of Death in the USA (Year 2013) Deaths Percent of All Deaths Cumulative Deaths Population Crude Rate Per 100,000
1 Heart diseases 611,105 24% 611,105   193.3
2 Cancer 584,881 23% 1,195,986   185.0
3 Chronic lower respiratory diseases 149,205 6% 1,345,191   47.2
4 Accidents (unintentional injuries) 130,557 5% 1,475,748   41.3
5 Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases) 128,978 5% 1,604,726   40.8
6 Alzheimer's disease 84,767 3% 1,689,493   26.8
7 Diabetes 75,578 3% 1,765,071   23.9
8 Influenza and pneumonia 56,979 2% 1,822,050   18.0
9 Kidney diseases (nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis) 47,112 2% 1,869,162   14.9
10 Intentional self-harm (suicide) 41,149 2% 1,910,311   13.0
11 Blood poisoning (septicemia) 38,156 1% 1,948,467   12.1
12 Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis 36,427 1% 1,984,894   11.5
13 Hypertension and hypertensive renal disease 30,770 1% 2,015,664   9.7
14 Parkinson's disease 25,196 1% 2,040,860   8.0
15 Chronic inflammation of lung tissue (pneumonitis) due to solids and liquids 18,579 1% 2,059,439   5.9
16 All other causes of death 537,554 21% 2,596,993   170.0
TOTAL   2,596,993 100%   316,128,839 821.5
DATA SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2013 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released 2015. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2013, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed at
See Also:

The top three causes of death in the USA during the year 2013 were heart disease (or 24% of all deaths), cancer (or 23% of all deaths), and chronic lower respiratory diseases (or 6% of all deaths). These three leading causes of death accounted for a combined total of 1,345,191 deaths or a little over half of the recorded 2,596,993 deaths in the USA during the year 2013. It has been firmly established by experts in the field of medicine that poor eating habits and poor exercise habits are major contributing factors to these three leading causes of death.


How do you maintain a healthy and vigorous life span? One key to a healthy and vigorous life span is good nutrition. Without getting bogged down trying to memorize a lot of different measurements, a starting point for attaining good nutrition would be to adhere to the eating recommendations as outlined in the myplate graphic. For, as the saying goes, you are what you eat.

Dietary Guidelines
Photo Credit: Dietary Guidelines for Americans | (ODPHP)

You Are What You Eat You Are What You Eat
Photo Credit: U R What U Eat

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit: My Daily Food Plan

Watch (Introducing the New Food Icon: MyPlate )

Watch (How to Follow the USDA MyPlate Dietary Guidelines)

Watch (Dietary Guidelines)

When discussing food and nutrition, it is easy to get tripped up by terminology such as diet, calories, nutrients, digestion, metabolism, and so forth. An easy way of examining food, eating, and nutrition is this: Generally speaking, the human body needs to be consume a minimum of 2,000 units of food (calories) a day for it to function normally. These 2,000 units of food are further subdivided into six main food groups:

Watch (Nutrition for a Healthy Life)

  1. Milk, yogurt, and cheese group
  2. Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts group
  3. Vegetable group
  4. Fruit group
  5. Bread, cereal, rice, and pasta group
  6. Fats, oils, sugar, and salt group

Here are some very general definitions of some common terms related to food and nutrition:

Your diet consists of the foods that you choose to eat each day.

Calories are the units of energy that you derive from eating various food items.

There are six general types of nutrients found in food items, and these nutrients are what calories are composed of (to varying degrees). The six types of nutrients are:

  1. Carbohydrates
  2. Fats (lipids)
  3. Protein
  4. Vitamins
  5. Minerals
  6. Water
It is the nutrients found in food that supply the body with the energy it needs to function both at the microscopic cellular level and also at the macroscopic physiological level. These six nutrients are further grouped into macronutrients (for example, carbohydrates and protein) and micronutrients (for example, vitamins and minerals). The human body requires small amounts of the micronutrients and larger amounts of the macronutrients. The Daily Values (DV) table below expands upon this list of important nutrients, which is not a comprehensive list of nutrients.

The process in which the body (stomach) breaks down food

The process in which the cell breaks down nutrients

Nutrition is a derivative of the word nourish, and it broadly can be taken to mean nourishment for the body that's supplied in food

A common way to depict the nutrient value of a food item is to state nutrients as per 100 grams of an edible portion of food. The general rule of thumb is that, on average, the typical human should endeavor to consume about 2,000 calories of food per day. The following Daily Values table lists recommended daily nutrient intake values for a diet consisting of 2,000 calories.

Nutrient Count Food Component Daily Value (DV)
1 Total Fat 65 g (grams)
2 Saturated Fat 20 g
3 Cholesterol 300 mg (milligrams)
4 Sodium 2,400 mg
5 Potassium 3,500 mg
6 Total Carbohydrate 300 g
7 Dietary Fiber 25 g
8 Protein 50 g
9 Vitamin A 5,000 IU (International Units)
10 Vitamin C 60 mg
11 Calcium 1,000 mg
12 Iron 18 mg
13 Vitamin D 400 IU
14 Vitamin E 30 IU
15 Vitamin K 80 ug (micrograms)
16 Thiamin 1.5 mg
17 Riboflavin 1.7 mg
18 Niacin 20 mg
19 Vitamin B6 2 mg
20 Folate 400 ug
21 Vitamin B12 6 ug
22 Biotin 300 ug
23 Pantothenic acid 10 mg
24 Phosphorus 1,000 mg
25 Iodine 150 ug
26 Magnesium 400 mg
27 Zinc 15 mg
28 Selenium 70 ug
29 Copper 2 mg
30 Manganese 2 mg
31 Chromium 120 ug
32 Molybdenum 75 ug
33 Chloride 3,400 mg
DATA SOURCE: Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide

Conversion Widget

See Also: Metric/English Conversion Factors


A nutritious diet is one in which your body takes in the maximum number of good calories and the minimum number of bad calories while eating. The so-called bad foods add little to your good health and longevity because they are low in nutrients.

Here's the problem with food and eating. Many humans take in a lot of calories when eating various food items, but they do not necessarily obtain the minimum number of nutrients desired from the food items that they are eating. There are several ways to go about consuming those 2,000 calories each day. There is the so-called good way to go about obtaining those 2,000 calories each day, and there is the so-called bad way. The following table illustrates the good versus bad approaches.

We Can! GO, SLOW, and WHOA Foods
Photo Credit: We Can! GO, SLOW, and WHOA Foods

It turns out that not all food items are created equal. Some food items are low in calories but high in nutrients. Other food items are high in calories but low in nutrients. Food items that contain lots of added fats, sugar, and salt are the ones that are high in calories but low in nutrients.

Food Amount Estimated Total Calories Estimated Empty Calories (calories from solid fats and added sugars) Net Gain from Eating
Fat-free milk (skim) 1 cup 83 0 83
1% milk (low fat) 1 cup 102 18 84
2% milk (reduced fat) 1 cup 122 37 85
Whole milk 1 cup 149 63 86
Low-fat chocolate milk 1 cup 158 64 94
Cheddar cheese 1 ½ ounces 172 113 59
Nonfat mozzarella cheese 1 ½ ounces 59 0 59
Whole milk mozzarella cheese 1 ½ ounces 128 76 52
Fruit flavored low-fat yogurt 1 cup (8 fl oz.) 250 152 98
Frozen yogurt 1 cup 224 119 105
Ice cream, vanilla 1 cup 275 210 65
Cheese sauce ¼ cup 120 64 56
Subtotal   1842 916 926
Food Amount Estimated Total Calories Estimated Empty Calories (calories from solid fats and added sugars) Net Gain from Eating
Extra lean ground beef, 95% lean 3 oz., cooked 146 0 146
Regular ground beef, 80% lean 3 oz., cooked 229 64 165
Turkey roll, light meat 3 slices (1 oz. each) 165 0 165
Roasted chicken breast (skinless) 3 oz., cooked 138 0 138
Roasted chicken thigh with skin 3 oz., cooked 209 47 162
Fried chicken with skin & batter 3 medium wings 478 382 96
Beef sausage, pre-cooked 3 oz., cooked 345 172 173
Pork sausage 2 patties (2 oz.) 204 96 108
Beef bologna 3 slices (1 oz. each) 261 150 111
Subtotal   2175 911 1264
Food Amount Estimated Total Calories Estimated Empty Calories (calories from solid fats and added sugars) Net Gain from Eating
Whole wheat bread 1 slice (1 oz.) 69 0 69
White bread 1 slice (1 oz.) 69 0 69
English muffin 1 muffin 132 0 132
Blueberry muffin 1 small muffin (2 oz.) 259 69 190
Croissant 1 medium (2 oz.) 231 111 120
Biscuit, plain 1 medium (2.5" diameter) 186 71 115
Cornbread 1 piece (2 ½" x 2 ½" x 1 ¼") 167 52 115
Corn flakes cereal 1 cup 90 8 82
Frosted corn flakes cereal 1 cup 147 56 91
Graham crackers 2 large pieces 118 54 64
Whole wheat crackers 5 crackers 85 25 60
Round snack crackers 7 crackers 106 42 64
Chocolate chip cookies 2 large 161 109 52
Chocolate cake 1 slice of two-layer cake 408 315 93
Glazed doughnut, yeast type 1 medium, 3 ¾" diameter 255 170 85
Cinnamon sweet roll 1 medium roll 223 137 86
Subtotal   2706 1219 1487
Food Amount Estimated Total Calories Estimated Empty Calories (calories from solid fats and added sugars) Net Gain from Eating
Baked potato 1 medium 159 0 159
French fries 1 medium order 431 185 246
Onion rings 1 order (8 to 9 rings) 275 160 115
Subtotal   865 345 520
Food Amount Estimated Total Calories Estimated Empty Calories (calories from solid fats and added sugars) Net Gain from Eating
Unsweetened applesauce 1 cup 105 0 105
Sweetened applesauce 1 cup 173 68 105
Subtotal   278 68 210
Food Amount Estimated Total Calories Estimated Empty Calories (calories from solid fats and added sugars) Net Gain from Eating
Pepperoni pizza 1 slice of a 14" pizza, regular crust 340 139 201
Regular soda 1 can (12 fluid oz.) 136 136 0
Regular soda 1 bottle (19.9 fluid oz.) 192 192 0
Fruit-flavored drink 1 cup 128 128 0
Butter 1 teaspoon 36 33 3
Stick margarine 1 teaspoon 36 32 4
Cream cheese 1 Tablespoon 41 36 5
Heavy (whipping) cream 1 Tablespoon 51 45 6
Frozen whipped topping (non dairy) ¼ cup 60 55 5
Table wine 1 glass (5 fluid oz.) 121 121* 0
Beer (regular) 1 can ( 12 fluid oz.) 155 155* 0
Beer (light) 1 can (12 fluid oz.) 104 104* 0
Distilled spirits (80 proof) 1 standard drink (1 ½ fluid oz.) 96 96* 0
Subtotal   1496 1272 224
GRAND TOTAL   9362 4731 4631
* Calories from alcohol are not from solid fats or added sugars, but they count against your limit for empty calories -- calories from solid fats and added sugars.
DATA SOURCE: How Do I Count Empty Calories?

If all of the food items in the above table were eaten by you over a given period of time, then the above table indicates that 4,731 (or 51%) of 9,362 total calories consumed would have been useless to your body in term of their nutrient value.

The following table shows the recommended daily limits or the recommended maximum intake of "empty" calories per day.

Age and gender Estimated calories for those who are not physically active
  Total daily calorie needs* Daily limit for empty calories
Children 2-3 yrs 1000 calories 135**
Children 4-8 yrs 1200-1400 calories 120
Girls 9-13 yrs 1600 calories 120
Boys 9-13 yrs 1800 calories 160
Girls 14-18 yrs 1800 calories 160
Boys 14-18 yrs 2200 calories 265
Females 19-30 yrs 2000 calories 260
Males 19-30 yrs 2400 calories 330
Females 31-50 yrs 1800 calories 160
Males 31-50 yrs 2200 calories 265
Females 51+ yrs 1600 calories 120
Males 51+ yrs 2000 calories 260
* These amounts are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days. Those who are more active need more total calories, and have a higher limit for empty calories. To find your personal total calorie needs
** The limit for empty calories is higher for children 2 and 3 years old than it is for some older children, because younger children have lower nutrient needs and smaller recommended intakes from the basic food groups.
DATA SOURCE: How Many [Empty Calories] Can I Have?

You can look up various food items on the USA Department of Agriculture's Food-A-Pedia website. Food-A-Pedia allows you to determine the caloric values and nutrient contents of various food items.

The most important thing to remember about food, eating, and obtaining the minimum amount of nutrients is this: Your body should be getting all of the good nutrients it needs as long as you adhere to the USDA's MyPlate dietary guidelines by:

Watch (Why Kids Should Eat Healthy and Exercise)

Sample Menus for a 2000 Calorie Food Pattern
Sample Menus for a 2000 Calorie Food Pattern
Sample Menus for a 2000 Calorie Food Pattern
Photo Credit: Sample Menus for a 2000 Calorie Food Pattern


When it comes to nutrition for all, the name of the game is to strike a harmonious balance between acquiring calories (that is, eating healthy) and burning calories (that is, exercising regularly). How well do you play the nutrition game each day? If you take in more calories than you burn, then you will tend to become overweight. If you burn more calories than you take in, then you will tend to become underweight. Your goal in life would be to maintain a normal weight.

The following bloc of videos provides a multimedia view of nutrition.

Watch (Basic Nutrition Module 1 - Getting started)

Watch (Basic Nutrition Module 2 - Good Tasting Food)

Watch (Basic Nutrition Module 3 - Understanding Nutrition Labels)

Watch (Basic Nutrition Module 4 - Get Skinny on Fats, Sugar and Sodium)

Watch (Basic Nutrition Module 5 - Making a Menu)

Watch (Bill Nye: The Science Guy & Nutrition)

Bill Nye The Science Guy S4E02 - Nutrition by BillNyeTheScienceGuyTV

Watch (Physical Activity Guidelines - Getting Started)

What is a normal weight? One crude technique for determining a normal weight is called the body mass index (BMI). The BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. You can get a hint of whether you are overweight, underweight, or of normal weight by computing your BMI. The following table lists the typical BMI ranges for adults. The important thing to remember about your BMI is this: Your health risks rise the greater your BMI falls outside the normal range.

The following table shows a BMI ranging from 18.5 to 24.9 as being a normal rating for the typical adult. You can use the BMI calculator immediately below to compute your BMI.


BMI Weight Status
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5 - 24.9 Normal
25.0 - 29.9 Overweight
30.0 and Above Obese
DATA SOURCE: About BMI for Adults
See Also: Body Mass Index Tables

Are you overweight?
Photo Credit: Dietary Guidelines

When it comes to children and weight, the following table shows a BMI between the 5th and 85th percentile as normal for the typical child. You can use the BMI calculator immediately below to compute the BMI for children and teenagers.


Weight Status Category Percentile Range
Underweight Less than the 5th percentile
Healthy weight 5th percentile to less than the 85th percentile
Overweight 85th to less than the 95th percentile
Obese Equal to or greater than the 95th percentile
DATA SOURCE: About BMI for Children and Teens

Physical Activity Pyramid for Young Children
Photo Credit: Physical Activity Pyramid for Young Children

SuperTracker can help you plan, analyze, and track your diet and physical activity.


The main thing to remember about food and nutrition is this: Food supplies your body with the energy that you need to stay healthy and to live long. It is your choice whether to supply your body with watered-down energy in the form of poor dietary practices or whether to supply it with robust energy in the form of good dietary practices. I realize that numerious factors are involved in the making of eating decisions. These factors include customs and culture, upbringing, socialization and peer pressure, marketing and mass media influences, affordability, availability, convenience, taste, aesthetics, and so forth. With the passage of time, humans tend to become creatures of habit. Humans tend to become set in their ways. If you have become accustomed to eating poorly, then it becomes all the more challenging for you to break those poor eating habits.

The following graphic illustrates that your body should be obtaining the minimum amount of nutrients it needs as long as you adhere to the following suggestions:

dietary guidelines?
Photo Credit: Dietary Guidelines

Watch [(Jack Lalanne - 10 Point Plan (Tribute)]

Watch (Need of Good Nutrition)

It's been said that an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. When it comes to good health and living a long life, I concur with this saying. Humans must become proactive in maintaining their good physical health. Humans must become proactive by eating nutritious and balanced meals. Humans must become physically active. The alternative is the reactive approach to health maintenance, which involves constantly taking lots of medicines and pills and constantly visiting the doctor to treat some physical ailment or another.

What is the moral to be gleaned from this examination of nutrition for all? The moral is this: Humans should not live by calories alone but should strive to eat food items that are fortified with the maximum number of nutrients. For, as the saying goes, your body is a temple (to a fulfilled life).

  1. SuperTracker Home
  2. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 27
  3. Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans
  4. Super Foods
  5. Free Diet Plans at SparkPeople
  6. DietMaster 2100 v12
  7. The Food Processor Diet Analysis and Fitness Software
  8. CRON-O-Meter: Track Nutrition & Count Calories
  9. Life Expectancy or Longevity Calculator | Medindia
  11. Lifespan Calculator – Test Your Life Expectancy || NM
  12. Medical Information & Trusted Health Advice: Healthline
  13. Shape Up America!
  15. American Heart Association
  16. American Psychiatric Association



Intellectual Property Disclosures: All videos and songs (as well as many of the images) referenced or spotlighted throughout this website are the legal and intellectual properties of others. All content and opinions on this website ( are those of the author (Edward Bruessard) exclusively and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the contributors, creators, owners, and distributors of these referenced videos, songs, and images. The author holds no legal interest or financial stake in any of these referenced videos, songs, and images. The contributors, creators, owners, and distributors of these referenced videos, songs, and images played no role at all regarding the appearance of said videos, songs, and images throughout this website; they had no clue that this website would be spotlighting their works.

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