The Food Guide Pyramid

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You must have noticed the food guide pyramid on food labels. The USDA and the DHHS designed this pyramid to be a flexible dietary guide for Americans. Each compartment contains a different food group and the recommended number of servings that should be consumed daily. The primary macronutrient (see Chapter 2) found in each food group is written in parenthesis. See Figure 3-1.

Figure 3-1. Food Guide Pyramid

Fats, Oils & Sweets: use sparingly (Fats & added sugar)

Milk, Yogurt & Cheese Group: 2-3 servings (Proteins)

Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs & Nuts Group: 2-3 servings (Proteins)

Vegetable Group: 3-5 servings (cho)

Figure 3-1. Food Guide Pyramid

Fats, Oils & Sweets: use sparingly (Fats & added sugar)

Milk, Yogurt & Cheese Group: 2-3 servings (Proteins)

Servings Fruit

Fruit Group: 2-4 servings (cho)

Bread, Cereal, Rice & Pasta Group: 6-11 servings

Although this Food Guide Pyramid can be found on most food labels, many people are still unsure how to use its information. The most common questions concern both the size of a serving and how many servings should be eaten. Often people overestimate the size of a serving, thereby eating more kcals than they anticipated. Table 3-1 and Table 3-2 help answer questions about serving sizes. Table 3-1 gives an estimate of the amount of food per serving for each food group, and Table 3-2 lists the number of servings required from each food group to meet the total daily kcals shown in the left column. Using your Estimated Energy Requirements (EER) calculated in Chapter 1 as your daily kcals, find the number of servings per food group that best fit your caloric requirement.

Table 3-1. Portion Sizes Equivalent to a Serving

Food Group

Serving Size

Bread, Cereal, Rice,

1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup cooked rice or pasta, 1 oz.*

Pasta & Grains

breakfast cereal, 1/2 bagel.

Vegetables

1 cup leafy vegetables, 1/2 cup raw or cooked

vegetable, 3/4 cup vegetable juice.

Fruits

1 medium size fruit, 1/2 cup canned fruit, 3/4 cup of

100% fruit juice, 1/4 cup dried fruit.

Milk, Yogurt, & Cheese

1 cup milk or yogurt, 2 oz. cheese.

Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry

3 oz. lean meat, poultry, fish, 1 egg, 2 Tbsp*

Beans, Eggs, Nuts

peanut butter, 1/2 cup cooked beans.

Fats, Oils, Sweets

1 tsp* oil, 1 pat of butter, 1 Tbsp salad dressing or

sour cream (equivalent to 45 kcals).

  • oz. = ounces, Tbsp. = tablespoon, tsp = teaspoon.
  • oz. = ounces, Tbsp. = tablespoon, tsp = teaspoon.
Table 3-2. Suggested Servings Based on Total Daily Caloric Intake

NUMBER OF SERVINGS PER FOOD GROUP

Total Daily Kcals

Bread

Vegetables

Fruits

Meats

Milk

Fat grams

1,400

6

4

3

2

2

<47

1,600

7

5

4

2

2

<53

1,800

8

5

4

2

3

<60

2,000

10

5

4

2

3

<67

2,200

11

5

4

3

3

<73

2,400

12

6

5

3

3

<80

3,000

15

6

6

3

3

<100

Adapted from Navy Nutrition and Weight Control Self-Study Guide, NAVPERS 15602A 1996, p. 44.

Adapted from Navy Nutrition and Weight Control Self-Study Guide, NAVPERS 15602A 1996, p. 44.

5-A-Day

Day Campaign Vegetables Fruits

You may have heard of the national campaign to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables eaten by all Americans. This campaign, called "5-a-Day" has been adopted by all military services. Its purpose is to encourage people to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Following this program can add needed vitamins and minerals to your daily food intake; cut your risk of heart disease, cancer and digestive diseases; help control cholesterol; prevent constipation; and can help manage your body weight and percent body fat. Additionally, many fruits and vegetables contain "antioxidants" (see the Glossary) and other nutrients that are beneficial to your health. Ideas to help you incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your diet can be found in Appendix A.

Food Labels

To fully understand and use the information in the Food Guide Pyramid you need to understand how to read the nutrition labels on foods. An example of a food label is shown in Figure 3-2.

Figure 3-2. How to Read a Food Label

Serving size reflects the typical amount of the food that many people eat.

The list of nutrients displays the amount in one serving of the food.

Ingredients are listed from the most to the least abundant items found in the food.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 8 fl oz (240 ml) Servings Per Container 8

Amount Per Serving

Calories 100 Calories from Fat 20

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 2.5g

Saturated Fat 1.5g

Cholesterol 10mg

Sodium 130mg

Total Carbohydrate 12g

Dietary Fiber Og

Sugars 11g

Protein I

Vitamin A 10%

Vitamin C 4%

Calcium 30%

Iron 0%

Vitamin D 25%

' Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

_Calories 2,000 2,500

Total Fat Less than 65g 80g Sat Fat Less than 20g 25g Cholesterol Less than 300mg 300mg Sodium Less than 2,400mg 2,400mg Total Carbohydrate 300g 375g Dietary Fiber 25g 30g

Ingredients: Lowfat milk, Vitamin A palmitate, Vitamin D3

The % Daily Values are based on a 2,000 kcal diet. Use the number to compare the amount of nutrients found in various foods.

Percentage of the daily vitamin and mineral recommendation that is met in one serving of the food.

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