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Problem Definition

What is the perfect diet? An ideal diet would meet or exceed basic nutritional requirements, be inexpensive, have variety, and be ``pleasing to the palate''. How can we find such a diet?

Suppose the only foods in the world are as follows:


After consulting with nutitionists, we decree that a satisfactory diet has at least 2000 kcal of energy, 55 g of protein, and 800 mg of calcium (vitamins and iron are supplied by pills). While some of us would be happy to subsist on 10 servings of pork and beans, we have decided to impose variety by having a limit on the number of servings/day for each of our six foods. What is the least cost satisfactory diet?

Michael A. Trick
Mon Aug 24 14:40:57 EDT 1998