I like the following three resources that one can use to understand the USDA(United States Department Agriculture)guidelines, see what the government recommends, and just to know you can possibly eat according to set guidelines by government. They are the food pyramid(older version to newer version), choosemyplate.gov, and nutrition label on almost any product.
Take the food pyramid; there are some many versions from ones for teens, diabetics, and even for vegetarians. I can tell the new food pyramid has vegetables and fruits as the most consumed then going up with other food groups. The food pyramid can can be challenging to translate a pyramid to correct portion sizes when it’s time to actually prepare and eat a meal.
Choose my plate is even easier to understand and follow as it is divided into four to five different food groups. I like this model versus the pyramid; it is easier to follow. “The plate is divided into four sections: fruits, vegetables, grains and protein. The idea behind the new graphic is to visually show people how much a portion size is and how much of each they should eat at meals. The plate indicates that you should fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. One-quarter of the plate should include a lean source of protein and one-quarter should include a serving of grains or starches. There’s also room next to the plate for a small serving of dairy such as milk or cheese.” The new MyPlate graphic comes with healthy messages, too, such as drink more water, drink less soda, reduce your sodium intake and eat less food overall. It does not show physical activity but some of the pyramids do, and we all know the importance of physical acitivity.
“The nutrition facts label (also known as the nutrition information panel, and other slight variations) is a label required on most packaged food in many countries. Most countries also release overall nutrition guides for general educational purposes. In some cases, the guides are based on different dietary targets for various nutrients than the labels on specific foods.” Source: Wikipedia.
FDA oversees food labeling on all products. Following link that you can paste and view shows two different nutrition label styles and the latest version is more thorough and lists important minerals and took our water-soluble vitamin information. Newer label shows how the added sugars also in a product.
Like someone in my family, who was not familiar with all this labeling and recommendations. I told them about it and to watch what they eat. She learned that her portions were too many and many people have problems with portions.
Well the policy makers such as USDA, FDA, and health.gov say the following:
“Food and nutrition play a crucial role in health promotion and chronic disease prevention. Every 5 years, HHS and USDA publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Nation’s go-to source for nutrition advice. The latest edition of the Dietary Guidelines reflects the current body of nutrition science, helps health professionals and policymakers guide Americans to make healthy food and beverage choices, and serves as the science-based foundation for vital nutrition policies and programs across the United States.”
I know that people are less informed because they do not take their time to educate themselves about nutrition and overall wellness. They do go together for you to function at your best. I have taken nutrition class, and a wellness class so this is how I learned all sorts of information. I read health related articles a lot; I love reading and knowing about superfoods and other information to stay healthy.
I think some people do not have the time to do all this as their income goes to housing mostly. This is discussed in the overview nutrition slides. The article talks about how these people are considered poor and may not be able to buy organic produce or like grass-fed meats. Since I’m mostly vegan and vegetarians at times, I disagree with the article that they cannot stay healthy. If they choose mostly plant based diet and keep processed foods at minimum, then they should be pretty healthy even if they want to eat their meats sometimes.
This Overview nutrition slide also talks about eating for various reasons, styles, and all the food groups. Different kinds of fats; how omega oils are very important and to avoid transfats as much as possible. The article also talks about how fast food places are serving bigger sizes and our plates are getting bigger along with people.
The article about Julia Mancuso from the same slide shows how she mostly eats plant based foods, very little meat, no heavy carbohydrates either. Her meals were packed with nutrition. She is an Olympic athlete and her intakes for a day is a good example to follow.
I personally feel like the labels and information are always changing. As a basic rule, I plan on eating plenty of vegetables and fruits and watch my intake on everything else. I avoid refined products especially white sugar, and I noticed that my body does not crave for products made with refined sugar or it is too sweet for me.