Food Pyramid and diets

If diets are in high demand lately it is because the number of people over the normal weight increased, both due to unhealthy, unbalanced diet, and a sedentary lifestyle.

Among the factors that make people gain weight we mention lack of exercise and movement in general, unhealthy eating habits (eating on the go, too big portions and not chewing food enough, drinking too little water), excessive consumption of products rich in calories (like fast food), animal fats (butter, cream, sausage) and sweets.

Food Pyramid was published in 1992 and suggests an optimal daily nutrition guide for each food category.

The first pyramid, based on whole grains, is modified in 2005 to adapt to the modern age. Although it is considered a “Bible of Healthy Eating” food pyramid has sparked controversy and many nutrition experts proposed various improvements, among them the inclusion of moderate amounts of alcohol, multivitamin and mineral supplements, spices, good fats (avocados, nuts, seeds, fish oil and virgin olive oil) and water.

Healthy diet should include foods from all food groups of the pyramid, with a sufficient quantity of water daily (1.5 – 2 liters) and exercise. There are several variants of the food pyramid, the most recent of which is healthy food pyramid developed by the Harvard School of Public Health. Although the exact amounts of calories normally depend on sex, age and lifestyle, healthy food pyramid recommends daily consumption of foods from these food groups.

– Based on: daily exercise for weight control

– Whole grains (including oatmeal, whole wheat bread, brown rice);

– Vegetable oils (olive, soybean, sunflower) – up to 40 g per day;

– At least three servings of vegetables per day;

– 2 to 3 servings of fruit;

– 1 – 3 ounces of nuts (walnuts, pistachios);

– 1 – 2 servings of fat milk;

– 1 – 2 servings of meat, poultry, fish and egg;

– As little white rice, white bread, potatoes, white pasta, sweets, red meat and butter.

Whole grains, whole wheat bread and pasta – the basis for a healthy diet, taking advantage of being a good source of fiber (stimulates digestion), vitamins (especially B group) and minerals, fat and cholesterol. Consume 200 g of bread daily (or bread and 150 g to 50 g corn flakes) and 70 g brown rice.

Vegetables and fruits – are low in fat and calories; recommended 3-5 servings of vegetables and 2-4 servings of fruit a day, as varied as possible. Vegetables contain vitamins and minerals but it is important to eat a wide variety of types for example, green vegetables generally contain vitamin A, the dark orange and dark green with vitamin C, while vegetables such as broccoli and plants of the same category contain large amounts of iron and calcium. Eat raw or cooked vegetables daily and fresh fruit.

Milk and dairy products – are an excellent source of calcium, protein, phosphorus, vitamin A, B and D. However, many dairy products are rich in fat and cholesterol; so fat dairy products are not a healthy alternative. Eat three servings of milk daily.

Vegetable oils, oilseeds and pulses – although vegetable oils are not needed in large quantities, we still need them to be healthy. Vegetable oils and oilseeds contain vitamin E (nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios) and peas, lentils, beans, soy contain vegetable protein necessary for healthy and balanced nutrition. Recommended dose in the daily diet – 4 tablespoons of oil.

Meat, poultry, fish and eggs – meat is a major source of protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12 but many of these nutrients are also contained by eggs, dried beans, nuts (walnuts) and soybeans, which can be an alternative to meat. Most types of meat are high in fat and cholesterol, and having high potassium content, so you should eat mainly lean meats and poultry (without skin) and fish.

Red meat, white bread, pasta, white rice, sweets and fats – contain vitamins A and D, and cholesterol, therefore it must be consumed in small amounts. Most animal fats (bacon, cream, lard) and refined sugars (cookies, ice cream, candy, and others) should be avoided. Red meat, butter, refined grains (white rice, white bread and white pasta) and sugar will not be completely excluded from the diet but should be eaten rarely.

In addition, to not get fat, healthy food should be prepared by one of the following methods: boiling, by baking in the oven or grill, so food preparations will keep most of the nutrients (vitamins and minerals).

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