What are the national dietary guidelines

The healthy eating pyramid is a guideline for people to follow and understand how to develop healthy eating habits. The new food pyramid is designed vertically instead of horizontally and color-coded. Each color represents a different food group – grains, vegetables, fruits, fats and oils, milk and dairy and meat, beans, fish and nuts.

The healthy eating pyramid is updated in an attempt to better communicate the nutritional needs of adults and children to the general public. The design uses small steps up the pyramid to represent the small changes you can make that will, together, make big changes in your overall health. Unfortunately the promotion of the pyramid was cancelled due to overwhelming dissatisfaction from the sugar, beef, dairy and processed food manufacturers.

Along the side of the pyramid is the picture of a young girl climbing the side, which represents the inclusion of exercise in the current Food Pyramid guidelines. Although the government is including exercise there are other facts discovered in research in the past 10 years that were omitted secondary to pressure from lobbyists.

The healthy eating pyramid has several other criteria that it is attempting to convey. Eat a variety of foods. A balanced diet is one that includes foods from all the food groups and not foods from one group. Try to also include fruits and vegetables that come from every color each day. If you salad is all green without other colors you’ve fallen short of the goal.

This healthy eating pyramid encourages eating less of some foods and more of others. The bands that represent meats and proteins and fats are skinnier than others. The bands that represent fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy foods are thicker because you should eat more of those.

The bands also get thinner at the top of the pyramid because certain categories of food are not all created the same. In other words the fruit in a fruit tart are not the same as they are as whole food. Crunch into an apple or slice open a kiwi twice a day but only eat the fruit tart once a week.

The healthy eating pyramid is able to give suggestions about what to eat but not how much of each to eat. It gives the reader the ratios but not the calories. The number of calories each day depends upon your activity level, age and sex. The needs of each individual are different and distinct based on these criteria.

The USDA Food Pyramid must be revised every five years by law. The intent is to provide sound nutritional advice based on the newest scientific research. The committee usually generates 100 pages plus of recommendations that are distilled to a reader friendly brochure. Of great importance are the Dietary Guidelines for Americans also set standards for all federal nutrition programs, including school lunch programs.

RESOURCES

Dietary Guidelines: Dietary Guidleins for AMericans 2015
http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015.asp
Dietary Guidelines: Dietary Guidelines for Americans
http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/

Australian Government: Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013
https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines/publications/n55

Nutrition.gov: Dietary Guidliens for Americans
http://www.nutrition.gov/smart-nutrition-101/dietary-guidelines-americans

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