Food pyramid

The USDA's original food pyramid from 1992.

The USDA’s original food pyramid from 1992. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The concept of a comprehensive food nutrition guide is thought to have been the  brainchild of Swedish writer Anna Britt Agnsater, first published about 1974. The American Department of Agriculture has revised and improved on it. First published in 1992, it utilised a pyramid style mnemonic in which the suggested food groups and daily quantity intake was outlined. It was a visual food guide graphic that remained in use until 2011 when it was replaced with a new publication distributed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) called MyPlate. Several other countries have also published their own version of nutrition based on the idea of the pyramid graphic as created by the USDA.

The established food groups as outlined are the Carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits, oils, dairy and meat and beans. Vegetables provide essential minerals and vitamins and it is suggested that the average person eat about two to three meals with vegetables daily, however the balance of vitamin and mineral depends on the form of vegetable you’re eating, therefore it is important to consume a variety of vegetable to maintain this balance. Believe it or not, your balance depends on the color of the vegetable. Dark green and orange coloured vegetables have vitamin C, green vegetables have vitamin A, and you can find minerals such as calcium and iron in ruffage vegetables like broccoli. Although it is well known that vegetables have nearly no calories and extremely minimal amounts of fat, the manner by which it is cooked can alter that.

Fats, the bane of many a person on a diet, is actually not all bad so long as the correct kind of fat and amount are consumed. Oils that are typically found in cooking oils or in butter products along with foods that have a high fat content are considered hazardous to your health in and of themselves and in the quantities that you consume. Some kinds of vegetable, fish, fruits and even nuts will provide a healthy dose of fats but remember that in oil, moderation must be exercised! Meats as part of the recommended food group is nutritious and known for its content of essential proteins and vitamins but it too can have measures of fat that are considered unhealthy so a balance of meat with this mental note in mind will keep fat levels at a minimum. Dairy foods too have fat content but that doesn’t mean that it should be put on the back burner in consideration either as it has vitamins A, B, C calcium and phosphorus.

For adults, the recommended daily intake of these food groups range between two to three servings per day along with foods containing carbohydrates (which the body converts to glucose), fruits and meats. Everything in moderation must be eaten with the important note to remember that not all that you eat is good for you if you consume too much of it.

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