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Nutrition and Dietary Basics.

In a nutshell, the USDA Food Guide Pyramid presents a general outline of which foods to eat daily. And it is based on the Dietary Guidelines presented by the USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Pyramid recommends eating a variety of foods in order to get the nutrients and calories needed for healthy weight maintenance.

The bottom foundation or the pyramid is a recommendation for 6-11 servings of breads, pasta, rice and cereals. The actual breakdown is:

· For children (ages 2 to 6 years), women, some older adults (around 1,600 calories) - 6 servings

· For older children, teen girls, active women, most men (around 2,200 calories) - 9 servings

· Teen boys, active men (around 2,800 calories) - 11 servings.

A serving of breads, pasta, rice and cereals would basically reflect the following: 1 slice of bread, 1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal; and 1/2 cup of cooked of pasta, rice or cereal.

The next pyramid layer building upwards represents fruits and vegetables. From 2-4 fruits are advised a day and 3-5 vegetables. The actual breakdown is:

· For children (ages 2 to 6 years), women, some older adults (around 1,600 calories) - 3 servings of vegetables, 2 of fruit

· For older children, teen girls, active women, most men (around 2,200 calories) - 4 servings of vegetables, 3 of fruit

· Teen boys, active men (around 2,800 calories) - 5 servings of vegetables, 4 of fruit

A serving of fruits and vegetables would basically reflect the following:

1 medium-sized fruit such as an apple, orange or a banana; 1/2 cup of chopped, canned or cooked fruit; or three-fourths (3/4) cup of fruit juice. For vegetables, a serving would be: a half (1/2) cup of raw, chopped or cooked vegetables, except for raw, leafy ones that get 1 cup per serving; or 3/4 cup of vegetable juice.

On up the pyramid is the Milk, Yogurt and Cheese Group also known as (AKA) the Milk Group, which includes lactose-free and lactose-reduced milk products. And the Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs and Nuts Group AKA Meat and Beans Group runs along side. From 2-3 servings of the Milk Group and 2-3 servings of the Meat and Beans Group are recommended. The actual breakdown is:

· For children (ages 2 to 6 years), women, some older adults (around 1,600 calories) - 2 or 3 servings Milk Group, 2 servings for a total of 5 ounces of Meat and Beans Group

· For older children, teen girls, active women, most men (around 2,200 calories) - 2 or 3 servings Milk Group, 2 servings for a total of 6 ounces of Meat and Beans Group

· Teen boys, active men (around 2,800 calories) - 2 or 3 servings Milk Group, 3 servings for a total of 7 ounces of Meat and Beans Group

A serving of both groups would basically reflect the following. For the Milk Group, choose from 1 cup of yogurt or milk, 1.5 ounces of natural cheese or 2 ounces of processed cheese. And for the Meat and Beans Group, 2-3 ounces of cooked lean meat, fish or poultry; 1/2 cup of cooked dry beans; 1/2 cup of tofu;

2 .5 -ounce soyburger; 1 egg ; 2 tablespoons of peanut butter; or 1/3 cup of nuts.

At the top of the pyramid is the group of fats, oils and sweets. And all should be “used sparingly.”

Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid

The Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid doesn't differ too much from the USDA Pyramid. It is based upon scientific research and patient healthcare as reported by medical practitioners and dietitians of the Mayo Clinic, and by weight-loss experts at Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The Pyramid was crafted threefold; to encourage weight loss, weight maintenance and long-term health.

Let's take a brief look at the Pyramid differences. The bottom two levels or the Bread Group - now referred to as Carbohydrates, and the Fruits and Vegetables Group, are reversed, resulting in the Fruits and Vegetables Group now being at the bottom level. Also servings for Fruits and Vegetables are unlimited here. And calories are counted throughout.

In a nutshell, to plan the perfect Mayo Clinic diet, a person would follow these 5 steps, as approved by his or her healthcare practitioner:

1. Calories - Establish a calorie level that's right for you based upon your physician's advice.

2. Servings - Determine the number of recommended servings for each food group.

3. Serving Size - learn the preferred portions for #2 above.

4. Record - log & monitor your progress.

5. Variety - Main success ingredient! Vary sensual appeal and tastes.

For more details on this Pyramid, contact:

The Section of Scientific Publications

Mayo Foundation

www.mayoclinic.org

Rochester, MN 55905

(507) 284-3335

Fax: (507) 284-2107

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Lyle McDonald

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