The Food Pyramid, Weight Loss & Your Diet

The USDA Food Pyramid

Article by Diet Bites

The food pyramid is a very important piece of solving your Diet Puzzle because:

It incorporates all the foods necessary for optimum health to ensure that your body's needs are nutritionally met.

It consists of key food groups, making your meal planning a breeze.

It provides the number of servings generally needed per day in your diet plan - as well as the recommended serving sizes.

It is one of the most simple and easy tools for losing fat. Basically, the dieter inputs the number of recommended food group servings into their eating plan, they are careful to stick to the serving sizes, they incorporate moderate exercise into their play - and weight loss are almost guaranteed.

Sure, there are a few more vital elements which go into losing the fat, but these are the basic guidelines to follow which will produce safe results. Gaining pounds is more likely to be associated with a poor daily eating plan rather than inactivity. While exercise is a basic need for good health, even when it is not part of the plan an individual can be at their recommended weight. Therefore, meal and snack planning should be approached with a thoughtful eye on the nutritional values of the food sources input into their day as well as the amount of energy values contained therein.

USDA Food Pyramid Group Recommendations

Added Fat Sources: Purpose includes protecting vital organs, adding luster and sheen to hair and nails, and vibrancy to skin.

These include cooking oils, butter, margarine as well as natural fats found in foods. Most of the natural fats in foods have a healthy distribution in the area of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated - but not always. While a serving of Omega-3 rich fish will add healthy heart values to your plan, a serving of chicken fat adds plaque to your arteries and when caloric values for the day are exceeded, fat to the body.

Another important health point involving fat is that processed foods which are mined with such have the potential to add abdominal fat to the body, even when the individual is at their recommended weight. These types of foods encourage the build- up of unhealthy fat layers around the vital organs as well.

The Dairy Food Group: Purpose includes strengthening bones (including teeth) as well as balancing precious minerals within the body.

Smaller adults may require only two servings per day while larger individuals need three and at times, even more. Dairy:(Milk, Yogurt, Cheese) - 2 to 3 servings per day. Food sources should be obtained via reduced fat varieties.

The Vegetable Food Group: Purpose includes replenishment of vital minerals and vitamins necessary to the body for digestive health and other functions related to wellness.

It's important to reach for the leafy greens and to add yellow and orange to the meal plate. This group is equipped with so many colors - from red beets to yellow squash to green onions to purple turnips to orange carrots.

The Protein Group: Purpose includes building muscles, supporting necessary functions within the human body.

This food group is commonly referred to as the meat, bean and egg group. Most individuals require two servings for optimum health from this group while others require three or more.

The Fruit Group: Purpose includes immunity protection against disease, particularly important to cell health. 'Crunching' involved with many fruits also supports dental health.

While all the groups are important and each serve a particular function - or work together in order to accomplish a certain task within the body, fruits are located just above the base of the Pyramid and are one of the most significant food groups. The recommendation requires a minimal of two servings daily; while this can meet the requirements of smaller individuals, other may require three or more serving daily. Be sure to make the citrus fruit selections part of your plan; these are rich sources of Vitamin C and include the following: oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes.

The Grain Group: Purpose includes fueling energy levels.

This group is the base - or foundation of the Pyramid and requires the most number of daily servings ranging from six to eleven; take note however that some individuals may require more based on size, activity level and muscle distribution and mass. Foods in this group include: whole grains in the form of rice, bread and cereals.

Food Combining

Another aspect in viewing the Food Pyramid's recommendations involves food interaction. To simplify, think about your car. You start the car using a key (food), but without oil, water and gas, the car won't work properly and you'll soon experience engine problems - if you can get your engine stated at all.

Our bodies work along those same lines, only a 'twist' is added. The twist is this: 'Some foods spin off of other foods and when combined, the dieter will reap maximum benefits. It's a little diet trick called 'food combining'.

In addition, if groups from the Pyramid are omitted in the eating plan, it can prohibit weight loss.

Return to Pyramid Diet Index


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