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 energy-providing nutrient (Chapter 2) found in each food group is written in parenthesis. See Figure 3-1.

Figure 3-1. Food Guide Pyramid

Figure 3-1. Food Guide Pyramid

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

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

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

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

Vegetable Group: 3-5 servings (cho)

Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs & Nuts Group: (Vegetarian substitutes: meat alternatives, legumes, nuts, seeds) 2-3 servings (Proteins)

Fruit Group: 2-4 servings (cho)

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

Although this Food Guide Pyramid is found on most food labels, many people are unsure how to use its information. The most common questions are about serving sizes 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 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 various total daily kcals shown in the left column. Look up the number of servings you need from each of the food groups to meet your Estimated Energy Requirements (EER, Worksheet 1-2).

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.

  • 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

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 o*tt«f H«attm 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 Glossary) and other nutrients that can be beneficial to your health. Some ideas to 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 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 fi oz (240 ml) Servings Per Container 8

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 8g

Calcium 30%

Vitamin D 25%

' Percent Daily Values are based on calorie diet. Your daily values may or lower depending on your calorie _Calories 2,000

a 2,000 be higher needs: 2,500

Total Fat Less than 65g

Sat Fat Less than 20g

Cholesterol Less than 300mg

Sodium Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrate 300g

Dietary Fiber 25g

300mg

2,400mg

375g

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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