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Nutrition Information - US Dept of Agriculture

Information for Vegetarians

British Nutrition Foundation

Harvard School of Public Health

  • Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta Group (6 to 11 servings): Carbohydrates are a fundamental part of most diets. Part of the rationale for placing them in the base of the pyramid was that if people filled up on carbohydrates they would eat less fat. When the USDA pyramid was built in 1992, the main message for Americans was "fat is evil." But not all fats are bad and not all carbohydrates are good.
  • Vegetable (3 to 5 servings) and Fruit (2 to 4 servings) Group: A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to keep yourself healthy. If there's anything close to being "proved" in nutrition research, it's that eating lots of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of heart disease, some types of cancer, and other chronic diseases. The U.S. government's "5 a day" campaign makes five servings of fruits and vegetables look like a goal when it should actually be a lower limit.
  • Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts Group (2 to 3 servings): This is essentially the protein group. Everyone needs protein[link] to keep tissues healthy and keep the body running smoothly. Some sources of protein are better than others, yet the USDA Food Guide Pyramid equates heart-healthy fish with bacon and bologna.
  • Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese Group (2 to 3 servings): Healthy bones need calcium, which dairy products can supply. (They also need exercise and vitamin D.) But most people don't need the amount of calcium supplied by three servings of milk (1,000 milligrams) a day, and there's some question that dairy products are the best way to prevent osteoporosis, the bone-thinning condition that affects many older women and men.
  • Fats, Oils, and Sweets (Use Sparingly): When the Food Guide Pyramid was built, policy makers wanted to send Americans a simple message for preventing heart disease: Eat less fat and you will have a better cholesterol level and a healthier heart. The fat phobia spawned by this message probably had little impact on heart disease. But it may have contributed to the current epidemics of obesity and diabetes as people replaced fats with fast-burning carbohydrates. The fat-is-bad message also keeps people from eating healthy fats - monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

The contents of this Web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice, which should be obtained from a health-care provider. The information does not mention brand names, nor does it endorse any particular products.



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