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Food Guide Pyramid: Recommended Daily Allowance

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Food Guide Pyramid: Recommended Daily Allowance

Obesity has rapidly increased over the past few years, and not just in the United States but throughout the entire world. This international spread raises the disease from an epidemic to a pandemic. Many factors can contribute to obesity; however, society normally considers a sedentary lifestyle coupled with overeating as the primary culprit. Whether this assumption has any truth regarding the primary factor, society as a whole must work together to get this pandemic under control, especially for our overweight children that might be heading towards obesity. One way to promote a healthy lifestyle is to teach others about the Food Guide Pyramid. This knowledge is beneficial for every individualÐ'--regardless of one's age, weight, and physical activity levelÐ'--because being small in size, weight, and/or age does not guarantee a healthy lifestyle. This essay will inform its readers on the advantages and criticisms of the Food Guide Pyramid and on how they can use the pyramid to determine their daily-recommended allowance for healthy menu planning.

Advantages and Criticisms

The Food Guide Pyramid has been modified several times over the past couple of decades, but one thing has remained unchanged: its sole intent of promoting healthy eating habits without depriving one's body of essential nutrients. The Food Guide Pyramid focuses on eating normally for health and enjoyment; it is not a diet fad that requires the omission of food groups (i.e. the Atkins Diet). Following the pyramid is easy to do and is easy to stick with because one does not have to manipulate his or her food choices. The pyramid recognizes that rigid diets are nearly impossible to follow on a long-term basis. The Food Pyramid is beneficial because it focuses on what one can include in his or her meals instead of what he or she should avoid. It takes some of the stress out of eating healthy. Most

importantly, the Food Guide Pyramid is advantageous because it provides balance, variety, and moderation to one's meals.

As with nearly everything in life, even the Food Guide Pyramid has its critics. For instance, with the increasingly popularity of the low-carb diet fads, advocates of these trends have attacked the pyramid since the base (the largest food group) consists of bread, cereal, rice, and pasta ("Using the food . . .," 2005, p. 2). Additionally, some nutritionists have also attacked the bread group claiming that it aids in weight gain since the group is very rich in carbohydrates. Furthermore, critics claim that the pyramid does not clearly state which foods to eat more of and which foods to eat less of ("Food Guide Pyramid," 2005, par. 5).

Menu Planning

The basic food groups supply the body with a different combination of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Thus, the body needs nutrients from all of the food groups to maintain a healthy lifestyle; variety is key to good nutrition. As mentioned above, the other two factors are balance and moderation. Daily menu planning under the guidelines of the pyramid will incorporate a variety of balanced and moderate meals and snacks. To become comfortable using the pyramid, one needs to know how many servings he or she needs, in which food group(s) their food choices fit, and how much counts as a serving.

Daily-Recommended Allowance

This brings us to the daily-recommended allowance. Before anyone can begin menu planning with the food guide, he or she must know his or her daily-recommended allowance so that he or she does not intake more than necessary to promote a healthy lifestyle. Allowances will vary depending on age, sex, and physical fitness level. One can determine

his or her

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