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19 What is the new "Food Pyramid" I've heard about? Is it similar to the "Four Basic Food Groups"?




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This article is from the Diet FAQ, by Claudia McCreary cookignnewsletter@chef.net with numerous contributions by others.

19 What is the new "Food Pyramid" I've heard about? Is it similar to the "Four Basic Food Groups"?

It replaces the "Four Basic Food Groups" plan, which was heavily influenced
by the meat and dairy industries. It's quite possible to eat a healthy diet
without using any meat or dairy products, which can be high in fats anyway.
The new "Food Pyramid" is a step in the right direction, since it emphasizes
fruits, vegetable, and grains, and suggests smaller amounts of protein
sources (meats, legumes, dairy products, etc.) than did the Four Basic Food
groups.

                               /\
                              /  \
                             /Fats\
                            / oils \
                           /sweets  \
                          / go eassy \
                         /============\
                        /      |       \
                       / Dairy | Protein\
                      /  (23  |  (23   \
                     /servings)| servings)\
                    /          |           \
                   /========================\
                  /  Veggies |   Fruits      \
                 /           |                \
                /     (35   |    (24         \
               /   servings) |    servings)     \
              /==================================\
             /                 Grains             \
            /                                      \
           /     (breads, cereals, rice, pasta)     \
          /                (611 servings)           \
         /............................................\

(See http://www.nalusda.gov/fnic/Fpyr/pyramid.gif for a large color GIF of
the Food Pyramid.)

If the quantities of food suggested here seem excessive (eleven servings of
bread and cereal a day?!), remember that the USDA's idea of a serving is
often much smaller than the portion that a typical consumer actually eats.
For example, a serving of vegetables is only 1/2 cup of cooked or raw,
chopped vegetables, or 3/4 cup vegetable juice, or one cup of raw, leafy
vegetables like spinach or lettuce. A serving of fruit is 1/2 cup of
bite-sized fruit pieces, 1/4 cup dried fruit (e.g. raisins), 3/4 cup of
fruit juice, or one medium piece of fruit (e.g., a medium orange, apple, or
banana, or one half of a grapefruit). A serving of dairy products such as
milk or yogurt (look for skim or low-fat varieties) is one cup; a serving of
cheese (which should be used in moderation or replaced with low-fat
varieties) is 1-1/2 ounces of natural cheese or 2 ounces of processed
cheese.

When it comes to proteins, many Americans far exceed the recommended
servings per day: a serving of meat is only 2 to 3 ounces of cooked meat, a
portion about the size of a deck of cards. One ounce of meat can be replaced
by 1/2 cup of cooked beans, 1 egg, or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
(remember that whole eggs and peanut butter are high in fat and should be
using sparingly). For grains, a serving is considered to be one ounce of
bread (about one slice) or dry cereal (most of us consume at least 1-1/2 to
2 ounces of breakfast cereal at a time), or 1/2 cup of cooked grains or
pasta. Since a typical serving of rice is 3/4 to 1 cup, and a plateful of
pasta contains around 2 cups of the stuff, most of us have no problems
meeting the suggested servings per day.

 

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