Stacking It All Up: How Does the U.S. Food Guide Pyramid Compare to Other Food Guides?
Stephanie Vangsness, RD, LDN, CNSD, Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Previously published on Intelihealth.com
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association looked at the food guides of 12 different countries : Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Korea, Mexico, the Philippines, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. Despite respective different shaped guides, and small variations in the categorization of foods, most recommendations for eating a healthy diet were consistent with the U.S. Food Guide Pyramid. Considering that the U.S. Food Guide Pyramid has recently come under some criticism, which pyramid “ measures up ” with the most accurate nutrition information ?
You say “potato,” I say “la papa”: Do countries group foods differently, and does it make a difference?
Most countries categorize foods into “ food groups ” quite similarly. The groupings of foods typically seen in a food guide include grains, vegetables, fruits, kernel, milk/dairy products and fats and boodle. One refer about grouping foods into broad categories is that not all foods within a food group are created equal. The U.S. Food Guide Pyramid has been criticized for recommending six to 11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta per day, without differentiating between whole grain foods and refined products. For example, on the U.S. Food Guide Pyramid, a cut of white boodle is peer to a 1/2 cup of brown rice. nutritionally, this just is n’t truthful. White bread has little or no fiber and is not about as rich people in health- promote phytochemicals as wholly grains such as brown rice or wheaten bread. Should we be relying on a food usher that is n’t able to help us determine what are the most alimentary choices ?
Another area in which the U.S. Food Guide Pyramid has drawn some criticism is the recommendation for fatten and boodle consumption. The U.S. Pyramid pictures adipose tissue as a little circular icon and sugar as a little trilateral icon, sprinkled throughout the pyramid. There is a classify adipose tissue and boodle class at the top of the pyramid, which is meant to convey the nutritional recommendation to decrease or limit fat and sugars in the diet overall. nutritionally, this recommendation ignores the fact that not all fats and carbohydrates ( sugars ) are created adequate.
Some dietary fats, like monounsaturated fats ( found in nuts and olive vegetable oil ) and polyunsaturated fats ( omega-6 fatty acid found in soy, sunflower and safflower oil and omega-3 fatty acid fats found in salmon, mackerel and sardines ) are heart-healthy. These fats should actually be added to the diet, to replace other fats such as saturate fatness ( found in animal products, such as cheese, cream, butter and heavily marbled loss kernel ) and trans fats, ( besides known as hydrogenate fats, found in margarine and packaged, processed foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oil ) .
There are besides unlike kinds of carbohydrates ( sugars ). Some, the “ bare ” carbohydrates found in cakes and cookies, should be reduced ; while others, the “ building complex ” carbohydrates found in whole ingrain breads and cereals, are much more alimentary and important to consume .
Sweden is one nation that recognizes that it does make a deviation how foods are grouped in a food lead. For model, Sweden ‘s “ Food Circle ” has two categories of vegetables, differentiating between “ settle vegetables ” and “ essential vegetables ”. Root vegetables, which include foods such as potatoes, carrots, rutabaga and parsnips, are “ root foods, ” mean to be consumed daily as contribution of the carbohydrate inhalation. It is recommended that “ essential vegetables, ” consisting of all remaining non- starchy vegetables such as leafy greens, broccoli and tomatoes, be consumed day by day in addition to the root vegetables. In this way, the food steer is encouraging a assortment of vegetables to be consumed, not merely starchy vegetables. In the United States, where french fries are frequently referred to as the most frequently consumed “ vegetable, ” we might benefit from such distinctions in our food template .
Trying the Food Guides on for Size: Serving Size, that is.
Serving size and recommended quantities for intake are relatively similar among all the food guides. For exemplar, a “ suffice ” of vegetables on the U.S. Food Guide Pyramid is equal to a “ sample ” on the australian food scout and a “ part ” on the United Kingdom ‘s food template .
Each serve, sample distribution or part of fruits or vegetables is equal to
- 1 cup of a raw leafy green vegetable
- 1/2 cup of any other vegetable
- 1 medium piece of fruit
- 1/2 cup cut up fruit (such as melon or berries)
How often should we eat these servings ? The U.S. Food Guide Pyramid suggests five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Australia recommends a slenderly higher consumption of fruits and vegetables, suggesting two to nine servings of vegetables per day and one to five servings of fruit each day. still early pyramids, such as the Okinawa pyramid ( see below for more information ) commend increasing inhalation to seven to 13 servings of vegetables per sidereal day and two to four servings of yield per day .
The Bottom line: Whose guide should we be following?
All the food guides assessed in the JADA study support consuming a diet full-bodied in grains, vegetables and fruits, and moderate in kernel and dairy products. This simplified, broad nutrition message is a good beginning. however, a more detail, specific food guide seems necessary to help people make healthier choices. There are respective newer pyramids, offering consumers more up-to-date nutrition information, and more specific guidelines for how to incorporate sincerely healthy eating strategies into the diet. Two of the newer pyramids are the Healthy Eating Pyramid developed by Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard School of Public Health and the Okinawa Food Pyramid .
The Healthy Eating Pyramid is a distillate of research encouraging people to eat foods that have been shown to improve and reduce risk of chronic disease. The base of the pyramid recognizes the importance of attaining or maintaining a healthy body weight along with daily exercise. The pyramid places healthy fats ( monounsaturated and polyunsaturated ) in the initiation highlighting the importance of good fats in our diet, but keeps saturated and trans fats to a minimum by listing red kernel, whole milk dairy products, butter and hydrogenated vegetable oils in the use meagerly section on the top .
The Healthy Eating Pyramid has two carbohydrate build up blocks : wholly grains ( embrown rice, wholly grain boodle and cereals ) that are lento digested as part of the basis, and highly refined, quickly digested carbohydrates ( white bread, white rice, potatoes, etc. ) at the very top. Fruits and vegetables, as in the majority of pyramids, are essential ingredients to healthy diets and should be consumed day by day ( vegetables in abundance, fruits two to three times/day ). For protein, this pyramid recognizes beans and nuts, along with fish, poultry and eggs as best sources. It besides includes alcohol in easing and taking a multivitamin for insurance.
The Okinawa Food Pyramid was born out of 25 years of inquiry in Okinawa, Japan, where the population ‘s health and life style behaviors have proven to be exceptional. The Okinawa Pyramid emphasizes as its base daily pulmonary tuberculosis of hale grains ( seven to 13 servings ), and vegetables ( seven to 13 servings ). besides commend day by day are fruits ( two to four servings ), “ flavanoid ” foods such as soy flax or legumes ( two to four servings ), calcium foods ( two to four servings ), omega-3 fatty acid foods ( such as salmon, 1-3 servings ) and vegetable oils ( 1-2 TBSP. ). Meat, domestic fowl and eggs are optional, and recommended to be eaten zero to seven times per week. Sweets are besides optional and recommended to be consumed no more than three times per workweek .
A healthful diet that has been around since ancientness but has recently received much deserved attention is the Mediterranean diet. In 1993, Oldways Preservation & Exchange Trust along with Harvard School of Public Health developed the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid. The base of the pyramid is one hard foundation, emphasizing casual physical activeness. The Mediterranean Pyramid focuses on plant-based foods, suggesting daily inhalation of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and legumes. olive anoint, the chief reference of fat, is recommended daily, as are yogurt and cheese. fish, domestic fowl, eggs and sweets are recommended for weekly pulmonary tuberculosis, while meats, ( such as red meat ) are suggested only monthly .
In assessing the most pertinent health concerns of the U.S., such as heart disease, fleshiness, diabetes and cancer, it is prudent to search for a pyramid that will “ stack up ” more favorably for disease prevention than our current USDA food guide .
In your search for the Food Guide that best meets your nutritional needs don’t forget to check out these models:
- The Healthy Eating Pyramid
- The Okinawa Food Pyramid
- The Traditional Healthy Mediterranean Diet Pyramid
- The Traditional Healthy Latin American Pyramid
- The Traditional Healthy Asian Pyramid
- The California Cuisine Food Pyramid
- The Vegetarian Food Pyramid
- The Physical Activity & Exercise Pyramid