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Linear Programming

Maximize and minimize quantities using linear inequality systems

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Diet Plan

Ever struggle with a diet plan? People strive to eat well-balanced meals for many purposes: staying healthy, losing weight, controlling diabetes, reducing cholesterol, or even reducing grocery costs. The ideal goal would be to find a diet plan that satisfies all your physical requirements and restrictions—yet also is friendly to your taste buds!

What Should I Eat?

Mathematical diet optimization models are used to create food plans that best resemble people’s current eating habits while meeting pre-specified nutrition and cost constraints. Linear programming becomes quite a handy tool for this purpose.

In 1939, economist George Stigler set out to calculate the exact quantities of different foods that a 154-pound, moderately active man should eat in order for him to take in the right levels of nine nutrients and such that the cost of his diet is minimal. His work is one of the earliest examples of linear programming! Since then, similar studies have helped guide government decisions regarding food policy, helping to determine which foods policies should target, which foods are most suitable for taxes, vouchers, and subsidies, and which foods should be used more by public institutions.

See for yourself: 

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Watch the video to view an example of linear programming applied to food combinations.


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