The Latin American Food Pyramid

About the Latin American Diet & Food Pyramid

Article by Diet Bites

Population Composite: Malnutrition Mixed With Obesity

As with many areas of the world, the Latin American population is a mix of both malnourished and overweight individuals. The inner-city population tends to veer towards overweight and obesity issues while rural areas suffer from proper nutrition and malnourishment.

Health Impact of Malnourishment

In the area of micronutrients, iron deficiency is the most common and is generally found in rural and sprawling areas and is particularly found in children and pregnant women. An iron deficiency can create a plethora of health issues, including from mild tiredness to severe anemia.

Young children are often deficient in Vitamin A and iodine. An iodine deficiency can trigger a condition known as goiter in the thyroid. Vitamin A deficiencies may be accompanied with any of the following health impacts: night blindness, growth retardation, viral infections, immune system issues, loss or thinning of hair, bone development, bone abnormalities, diarrhea, and mild to serious skin irritations.

Health Impact of Overweight & Obesity

The list of ill effects due to weight gain is endless. Adding unnecessary fat cells to the body creates layers which continue to build over time as more are added. The result is a bloated, oversized appearance of the human body and the health impact can range from mild to severe. Much of these negative effects will be based on the gene pool - the heredity factors.

While Jan was at her recommended weight, although heart disease ran in her family, she was at a low risk. She exercised, ate the most healthy foods and balanced her day with ample rest and relaxation.

But as Jan aged she relaxed her lifestyle and the result was multiple pounds of unhealthy fat; her risk for heart disease suddenly takes a spike along with those numbers on her bathroom scales.

Gaining pounds impacts more than just the inside of the body. It can create numerous issues with the emotions and leave lasting scars embedded in our memory bank.

Visible differences are apparent when comparing the Latin American Food Pyramid to the American Food Pyramid.

The Grain Group of the Latin American Food Pyramid contains tortillas, beans and rice. The preferred oil in the diet is olive oil and as in the USDA Food Pyramid, is recommended to be used sparingly.

American Food Plate Created by Diet BitesConsumption of fish, shellfish, meats, sweets and eggs is recommended a few times per week or in reduced amounts, and poultry may be eaten daily.

Beans, grains, nuts, tubers, fruits, vegetables, dairy products and plant oils may also be included in the daily Latin American diet.

Diet Plan: Menu Based on the Latin Diet

Breakfast: 1 cup of any type of melon, 1 serving of farina prepared with low fat milk, a slice of wheat bread served with margarine and fruit jelly, a serving of fruit juice and 1/2 cup of reduced fat milk.

Lunch: 2 beef enchiladas, 1/2 cup of refried beans, a one cup assortment of raw carrot and celery sticks, 1/2 cup of milk.

Dinner: 1 chicken taco with sour cream and guacamole, 1/2 cup of corn, 1/2 cup of Spanish rice, 1 large banana, coffee with added milk.

Hydrating Needs: About 32 ounces of water should be consumed throughout the day.

Let's breakdown the nutritional data:

Nutritional Elements

Based on a 1200 Diet Plan

Based on a 1600 Diet Plan

Carbohydrate grams, total percentage of calories



Dietary Fat, Lipids - total percentage of grams



Sodium mgs



Cholesterol mgs



Protein, the caloric percentages



Special Nutritional Notes

The above plan is lacking slightly in Vitamins E, B1, B3, B2 and Iron, Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc.

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