Nutrition and Diet (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
The Food Guide Pyramid
Everyone has heard about the importance of following a balanced diet, but how do you know what the right balance is? The goal of a balanced diet is to consume an appropriate amount of calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water. Food can be divided into food groups according to its calorie and nutrient content. This means that you can consume any food within a food group and get a similar amount of nutrients. The amount of calories will depend on the amount that you consume.
Food guides have been categorizing foods into food groups since 1916 and have undergone many changes:
The updates that were recently made to the Food Guide Pyramid are the first to offer personalized eating plans. Instead of recommendations that give you a range to follow, you can now get a set number of servings to have from each food group based on your age, gender, height, and weight at http://www.mypyramid.gov/mypyramid/index.aspx.
Another feature of the MyPyramid Plan is the food-gallery section. This section provides images of the serving sizes of foods in each of the food groups. Many people complain about serving sizes being too small. Serving size is a standard unit of measurement, not the amount that you are supposed to consume. The amount, or number of servings that you consume, is your portion. For example, if the serving size for pasta is ½ cup and you consume 2 cups, that means that your portion is 2 cups and you consumed 4 servings.
The food guides have been separating food into food groups for nearly a century. The current Food Guide Pyramid still emphasizes eating a balanced diet with foods from each of the food groups, but with today's version of the plan, you can get a personalized plan instead of just general recommendations. This is everyone's chance to learn how to eat a well-balanced diet.