Introduction: (Initial Observation)
We eat many different foods every day. Meat, bread, rice, beans, and vegetables are some of the foods that we eat. The question is why do we need so many different foods? Can we just eat rice, meat, or any thing else that we like? Is it just for taste or there are some other reasons? Some animals don’t have such a variety of foods! For example, sheep eat grass, and birds eat seeds. Can we do the same and eat one type of food every day?
In this project you will research on what foods people eat, what are in these foods, and how to make the best food choices. You will perform some experiments and finally prepare a very nice and educational display with lots of drawings and food samples.
Find out about different foods and how they can help our body and our health. Read books and magazines or ask professionals who might know in order to learn about the effect of different foods in our body. Keep track of where you got your information from.
Your initial study will focus on the research performed by others in this subject. The internet is a good place to start. US Department of agriculture has good website for kids. There you can find lots of valuable information in addition to a beautiful drawing known as food pyramid. A food pyramid is a graphical presentation that shows what types of foods are more important for our health. As a part of your presentation, you can draw the food pyramid on a large board and place it on the center of your display. You may also want to gather some real food items, (small) and include it in your display or hang them in a proper place in your food pyramid. This is a sample of food pyramid.
A nutrition pyramid, however, can be very educational and easy to understand. Different sections of nutrition pyramids represent different types of food. These sections are described here.
Fats, Oils, & Sweets (Use Sparingly)
- Go easy on fats and sugars added to foods in cooking or at the table–butter, margarine, gravy, salad dressing, sugar, and jelly.
- Choose fewer foods that are high in sugars–candy, sweet desserts, and soft drinks.
- The most effective way to moderate the amount of fat and added sugars in your diet is to cut down on “extras” (foods in this group). Also choose lower fat and lower sugar foods from the other five food groups often.
Milk, Yogurt, & Cheese (2-3 Servings)
- Choose skim milk and non-fat yogurt often. They are lowest in fat.
- 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of cheese and 8 ounces of yogurt count as a serving from this group because they supply the same amount of calcium as 1 cup of milk.
- Choose “part skim” or low fat cheeses when available and lower fat milk desserts, like ice milk or frozen yogurt. Read labels.
Meat, Poultry, Fish (2-3 Servings)
- Choose lean meat, poultry without skin, fish, and dry beans and peas often. they are the choices lowest in fat.
- Prepare meats in low fat ways:
- Trim away all the fat you can see.
- Remove skin from poultry.
- Broil, roast, or boil these foods instead of frying them.
- Nuts and seeds are high in fat, so eat them in moderation.
Vegetable Group (3-5 Servings)
- Different types of vegetables provide different nutrients.
Eat a variety of vegetables.
- Include dark-green leafy vegetables and legumes several times a week–they are especially good sources of vitamins and minerals. Legumes also provide protein and can be used in place of meat.
- Go easy on the fat you add to vegetables at the table or during cooking. Added spreads or toppings, such as butter, mayonnaise, and salad dressing, count as fat.
Fruit Group (2-4 Servings)
- Choose fresh fruits, fruit juices, frozen fruit, canned fruit, or dried fruit. Go easy on fruits canned or frozen in heavy syrups and sweetened fruit juices.
- Eat whole fruits often–they are higher in fiber than fruit juices.
- Count only 100 percent fruit juice as fruit. Punches and most fruit “drinks” contain only a little juice and lots of added sugars.
Bread, Cereal, Rice, & Pasta Group (6-11 Servings)
- To get the fiber you need, choose several servings a day of foods made from whole grains.
- Choose most often foods that are made with little fat or sugars, like bread, English muffins, rice, and pasta.
- Go easy on the fat and sugars you add as spreads, seasonings, or toppings.
- When preparing pasta, stuffing, and sauce from packaged mixes, use only half the butter or margarine suggested; if milk or cream is called for, use low fat milk.
What Counts as One Serving?
The amount of food that counts as one serving is listed below. If you eat a larger portion, count it as more than 1 serving. For example, a dinner portion of spaghetti would count as 2 or 3 servings of pasta.
Be sure to eat at least the lowest number of servings from the five major food groups listed below. You need them for the vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and protein they provide. Just try to pick the lowest fat choices from the food groups. No specific serving size is given for the fats, oils, and sweets group because the message is USE SPARINGLY.
|1 cup of milk or yogurt||1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese||2 ounces of processed cheese|
|2-3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish||1/2 cup of cooked dry beans, 1 egg, or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter count as 1 ounce of lean meat|
|1 cup of raw leafy vegetables||1/2 cup of other vegetables, cooked or chopped raw||3/4 cup of vegetable juice|
|1 medium apple, banana, orange||1/2 cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit||3/4 cup of fruit juice|
|1 slice of bread||1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal||1/2 cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta|
What do you want to find out? Write a statement that describes what you want to do. Use your observations and questions to write the statement.
The purpose of this project is to find out what types of food gives us enough energy and keeps us healthy.
As a display project you may just make a food triangle.
As an experimental project, you may try to find out: How does the type of food affect the growth of a pet mice?
When you think you know what variables may be involved, think about ways to change one at a time. If you change more than one at a time, you will not know what variable is causing your observation. Sometimes variables are linked and work together to cause something. At first, try to choose variables that you think act independently of each other.
This is how you may define variables for ” How does the type of food affect the growth of a pet mice?”
Independent variable (also known as manipulated variable) is the type of drink accompanied with food. Possible values are water, sugar water, milk, milk and sugar water together.
Dependent variable (also known as responding variable) is the growth rate of a pet mice.
Constants are the growth environment, type of animal and its initial size
Controlled variables are the temperature and light. (All 4 pet mice must grow under identical temperature and lighting conditions).
Based on your gathered information, make an educated guess about what types of things affect the system you are working with. Identifying variables is necessary before you can make a hypothesis.
This is a sample hypothesis for the question ” How does the type of food affect the growth of a pet mice?”
I hypothesize that the mouse getting food with milk will grow faster and healthier.
Note: You can have any other hypothesis that you like. Your experiment will prove or disprove your hypothesis. If you change your question/purpose or your hypothesis, you may need to do some changes in your experiments as well to match them.
Design an experiment to test each hypothesis. Make a step-by-step list of what you will do to answer each question. This list is called an experimental procedure. For an experiment to give answers you can trust, it must have a “control.” A control is an additional experimental trial or run. It is a separate experiment, done exactly like the others. The only difference is that no experimental variables are changed. A control is a neutral “reference point” for comparison that allows you to see what changing a variable does by comparing it to not changing anything. Dependable controls are sometimes very hard to develop. They can be the hardest part of a project. Without a control you cannot be sure that changing the variable causes your observations. A series of experiments that includes a control is called a “controlled experiment.”
Introduction: In this experiment, we will feed a few pet mice with different types of foods and measure their growth.
- 4 young, same size pet mice
- 4 separate pet mice cages
- Pet mice food
- measuring tape or ruler
- high precision gram scale
Use 4 young, same size pet mice and keep them in 4 identical cages. If you are going to custom build the cages yourself, remember the pet mice need enough light and oxygen. They can chew plastic and they can climb and jump in order to get out of the cage.
We will feed the first mouse with food and sugar water. The second mouse with food and milk and the third mouse with both (so he can choose). The fourth mouse will be the control, so we feed him with food and water. We will then monitor the weight and the length of each mouse and record it. For this experiment you can almost use any of various small, mouse like rodents such as a gerbil, a rat, and a guinea pig. The white rat in the picture is an albino rat. Albino rats are very good for such experiments because they will eat any food we eat. They also grow quickly and have a similar digestive system to us.
Clean your pet mice cages often. Be sure you put new food, water, milk, and sugar water into the cages.
In order to clean the cage, take the mouse out of the cage and hold him in a temporary and safe place. Dump the old bedding out of the cage into the garbage. Rip new pieces of paper towels for the bedding and lay down the new fresh bedding. Put new food and sugar water back into the cage. Then let the mouse back in the cage.
We feed the mice two fruits, two vegetables, oatmeal and meat in addition to their specific drink (water, sugar water, milk). You should always try to feed the mice at the same time of the day.
The experiment mouse drinks sugar water, milk, or both and the control mouse drinks water. Monitor the mice growth for about 4 weeks.
Take each mouse out of the cage and weigh them in the beginning of the experiment and once a week after that. You may need to put the mouse in a smaller plastic container for weighing. At the same day that you weigh the mice, also measure their total length (head to tail) and their tail length.
Have someone hold the mouse while you measure the length. Make sure you hold the mouse secure because it is likely to squirm.
Use a ruler to measure the length. Measure the length in centimeters.
Weigh and measure the length of the mice once a week . Try to measure them on the same day of the week.
Record the results of your experiment in a table like this:
|Weight/ Length||Mouse 1||Mouse 2||Mouse 3||Mouse 4|
|First day||6 grams /10 cm|
|After 7 days|
|After 14 days|
|After 21 days|
|After 28 days|
After the fourth week we trade drinks. What do you think happens?
If you want to see the effect of drinks mush faster, reduce the amount of food or limit the food to one type only (only vegetables or only oatmeal).
With mice, you can do a variety of different tests to see how the food affects their health, energy (activity), and growth (weight and length).
Additional Optional Experiments
– Very helpful –
The purpose of the the following experiments are to see how human instinct can affect his or her decision on selecting foods that are needed for their body. For example, if you see a new fruit and its appearance and its smell makes you think that it is a good fruit, that is your instinct. However, if there is a bottle of a drink that you think it is good based on advertisement, what you’ve heard, or by previous experience, that is your perception.
Another example is a child who bites into a chocolate bar without thinking of what he or she is biting into. This is because their perception is that the chocolate bar is delicious and enjoyable. However, the chocolate bar can be a piece of wood covered with chocolate. If it is the child’s first time trying a chocolate bar and he or she has never had a chocolate bar before, he or she would first examine the chocolate and then taste it.
As you will notice after doing the following experiments below, your instinct chooses in order to fit body needs. Your mind chooses with such criteria as memories, convenience, habits, etc.
The purpose of this experiment is to see how does instinct affect the quantity of food intake.
Buy one or two pineapples (organic, if possible).
To obtain the optimal results, it is best to do this experiment in the morning, on an empty stomach. Start to eat the pineapple, by itself, in its natural state, without sugar or anything else. Pay attention to the perception of the taste during the entire experience.
Did you experience a sweet and pleasant taste during the first few bites? After a certain quantity, did you notice that the taste changes? Did it go from sweet and pleasant to acidic, unpleasant and even painful? – like a burning sensation in the mouth or on the lips? (At this point, if you keep going, your lips may start bleeding.)
Is there any way to influence this change of taste by will or thought? Can you think to yourself: “The pineapple is still sweet,” or it will start burning anyway? This change in perception cannot be induced by the subject. The pineapple hasn’t changed either. The only thing that changed is your body’s needs. As long as there is a need for the nutrients contained in the pineapple, the taste is pleasant. When the needs are covered, the perception of taste changes and becomes unpleasant or painful.
You may call this stage an “instinctive stop.”. This can show that instinct is regulating the quantity of your food intake at each and every meal you eat.
Note: This experiment can be done with cabbage, carrots, kiwis, or fresh figs. For other produce, the body might need more fine tuning, but don’t worry… together, we’ll get there.
The purpose of this experiment is to see if mixing multiple foods may fool our instinct and cause overeat.
Buy an organic cabbage. Eat it until the taste becomes unpleasant or turns into a burning sensation. Once you have reached this point, take some olive oil or regular salad dressing and mix it with the cabbage. See if this mixing will make you able to eat more cabbage, without the previous unpleasant sensation.
Write the result of your experiment here. Could you eat more when you added salad dressing?
This experiment shows that even if the body’s needs are covered, and the purpose of nutrition is reached, food processing and mixing multiple foods allows us to go further and overeat.
• When food is unprocessed, what tastes good is good for the body and what tastes bad is unnecessary, or harmful to the body.
• When food is processed, what tastes good can be bad for the body and what tastes bad, can be good for you. This is the big contradiction shown by traditionally processed food. Intellectual knowledge and restrictions are necessary to stay healthy.
It is very important to experience that the dietary instinct doesn’t work with processed food. It hasn’t been designed for it. When food is processed by man’s hands, it goes beyond the capacity of the instinct to chemically analyze it.
The change in taste perception occurs for every unprocessed food product available. It works with all kinds of fruit (even the ones we’ve never come in contact with), all kind of vegetables, all kinds of protein foods from nuts to seafood, and everything in between. It even works with dates and truly unheated honey.
Note: Don’t try to find a change of taste perception, or an instinctive stop, with processed food, such as ice-cream or chocolate: you might end up feeling full or sick, but the taste won’t change.
The purpose of this experiment is to see if our instinct can help us to select the right food?
This experiment works best in the morning, on an empty stomach.
Buy a selection of 5 or 6 strictly unprocessed organic fruits. Buy the ones you like the most.
Use your intuition to choose the specific fruit, which might fit most closely your body’s needs. But don’t eat it. Simply memorize your choice.
Now start using your sense of smell. Put all the fruits in a row in front of you and start smelling one after another. Take your time. It might take a while for your instinct to become fully active, as it has slept for many years. Ten to fifteen minutes is a reasonable time to spend. You will notice changes in the perception of smell. A fruit smelling good the first time may smell bad after some time. Pay attention to these changes. Now, proceed by elimination. As soon as the smell of a fruit turns bad or unpleasant, put it to the side (if you don’t perceive a smell scratch a little of the fruit’s skin). Proceed until only one fruit is left. This is the fruit chosen by your instinct.
Is the fruit your mind chose the same as the fruit chosen by your instinct? Your instinct chooses in order to fit body needs. Your mind chooses with such criteria as memories, convenience, habits, etc.
This experiment helps you to feel the difference between your instinct and your mind. The sense of smell is the best instrument to choose the right food at the right moment.
Note: This experience works better if you blindfold yourself and ask somebody to help you smell. It is much easier to focus on the instinct and follow it without visual stimulation.
Materials and Equipment:
List of materials can be extracted from the experiment design section.
Results of Experiment (Observation):
Experiments are often done in series. A series of experiments can be done by changing one variable a different amount each time. A series of experiments is made up of separate experimental “runs.” During each run you make a measurement of how much the variable affected the system under study. For each run, a different amount of change in the variable is used. This produces a different amount of response in the system. You measure this response, or record data, in a table for this purpose. This is considered “raw data” since it has not been processed or interpreted yet. When raw data gets processed mathematically, for example, it becomes results.
Not much calculation is needed.
Summary of Results:
Summarize what happened. This can be in the form of a table of processed numerical data, or graphs. It could also be a written statement of what occurred during experiments.
It is from calculations using recorded data that tables and graphs are made. Studying tables and graphs, we can see trends that tell us how different variables cause our observations. Based on these trends, we can draw conclusions about the system under study. These conclusions help us confirm or deny our original hypothesis. Often, mathematical equations can be made from graphs. These equations allow us to predict how a change will affect the system without the need to do additional experiments. Advanced levels of experimental science rely heavily on graphical and mathematical analysis of data. At this level, science becomes even more interesting and powerful.
Using the trends in your experimental data and your experimental observations, try to answer your original questions. Is your hypothesis correct? Now is the time to pull together what happened, and assess the experiments you did.
Related Questions & Answers:
What you have learned may allow you to answer other questions. Many questions are related. Several new questions may have occurred to you while doing experiments. You may now be able to understand or verify things that you discovered when gathering information for the project. Questions lead to more questions, which lead to additional hypothesis that need to be tested.
If you did not observe anything different than what happened with your control, the variable you changed may not affect the system you are investigating. If you did not observe a consistent, reproducible trend in your series of experimental runs there may be experimental errors affecting your results. The first thing to check is how you are making your measurements. Is the measurement method questionable or unreliable? Maybe you are reading a scale incorrectly, or maybe the measuring instrument is working erratically.
If you determine that experimental errors are influencing your results, carefully rethink the design of your experiments. Review each step of the procedure to find sources of potential errors. If possible, have a scientist review the procedure with you. Sometimes the designer of an experiment can miss the obvious.