Healthy Food Pyramid 2018 | What Foods & How Much Should You Eat?

healthy food pyramid 2018
The Healthy Food Pyramid - 2018 View

What Is The Latest Healthy Food Pyramid Research?

Healthy Food Pyramid Definition

The healthy food pyramid concept has been used to help people to understand proportions of different food types that should be included in a healthy diet. However, over the years the types and quantities of foods that should be included has undergone radical change. It is now generally accepted that the healthiest diet is one that is based primarily on plant-based foods.  The healthy food pyramid shown above is recommended by Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman in their books “Fantastic Voyage” and “Transcend” as the basis of a healthy eating plan.

How Does A Food Pyramid Help Individuals Eat A Healthy Diet?

The food pyramid illustrates what food groups should be included in a healthy diet and also shows what proportion of each food group is required for healthy eating. A balanced diet is one that is made up of mainly plant-based foods, lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and a limited amount of healthy fats.  People who follow healthy food pyramid guidelines can lower their risk of common diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

What Are The 5 Food Groups?

The 3 main natural food stores in the body are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The healthy food pyramid is made up of 5 food groups which correlate with these natural stores:

Food Groups Components
Red meats and eggs
Amino acids (make up proteins), Vitamins, Minerals and Fats
Fruits, nuts and healthy fats
Carbohydrates, Minerals, Vitamins, Essential fatty acids
Low GL Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates, Fibre
Lean animal proteins, low fat dairy
Amino acids, Vitamins, Minerals, Good bacteria, Essential fatty acids
Vegetables
Carbohydrates, Minerals, Vitamins

Healthy Eating Plate

In recent times, nutrition experts at the Harvard School of Public Health created the “Healthy Eating Plate“. This simplifies the healthy food pyramid into an easy to understand infographic which provide guidance on what foods and quantities to include for a healthy diet.

harvard healthy eating plate

How Many Servings Of Fruits And Vegetables Per Day?

Fruit and vegetables are low- calorie, fibre rich foods. They are full of anti-oxidants , vitamins, phytochemicals, minerals and flavonoids. Therefore they are very  important for a healthy body.  Health authorities recommend that you eat at least 2 to 3 servings of fruit, and 5 of vegetables every day. This may sound daunting at first, but it’s not really that hard, once you realise how small a serving really is: One serve is:

  • An average size piece of fruit - e.g a medium apple, a banana, a handful of grapes.
  • Enough fruit to fill half of a cup, such as chopped strawberries
  • One and a half tablespoon of dried fruit, such as raisins
  • Half a cup of fruit juice
  • One cup of leafy vegetables, or a cup of chopped vegetables such a carrots
  • Half a cup of cooked or raw vegetables

A Note On Juices

Be wary of drinking too much fruit juice, as juice has less fibre and more calories than the whole fruit. Several serves of fruit are typically used to make a glass of juice. Dried fruits also contain concentrated sugars, so should be eaten in moderation. Vegetable juice on the other hand, is an excellent way of getting your quota of daily veges. However, remember that the best way to eat vegetables, so as to gain the full health benefits, is to cook them lightly by steaming. Low starch vegetables should make up a large part of your daily diet. If you follow these healthy food pyramid guidelines and incorporate fruit and vegetables in your diet, you can improve your well-being.

What Is The Difference Between Saturated And Unsaturated Fats

Fats make up one of the food groups in the healthy food pyramid. Therefore, we know that fats are needed in a healthy diet. The key is to understand that there are healthy fats and also unhealthy fats. saturated fats? Saturated fats are bad fats, while unsaturated fats are good fats. The types of fat as well as the amount you eat can have a profound effect on your weight and health. You can easily pack on the pounds by eating fatty foods. While the body needs fats as part of a healthy diet, the types of fats you eat will have an impact on your health and weight management success. Fats are caloric dense, packed with 9 calories per gram as opposed to 4 calories per gram for proteins or carbohydrates. So, choose wisely! The key to a healthy diet is to replace bad fats with good fats.

Saturated Fats:

  • Can lead to weight gain and increase cholesterol levels.
  • Are usually solid at room temperature.
  • Are mainly found in animal and dairy products such as fatty meats, full fat milk, cream, cheese and butter, coconut and palm oils, and peanuts.
  • Also found in many commercial products such as biscuits and pastries, and fast foods. 

Unsaturated Fats:

  • Are of 2 types, Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated.
  • Can have anti-inflammatory properties (e.g. Omega-3 fatty acids)
  • Are liquid at room temperature
  • Are mainly found in canola oil, olive oil, oily fish, walnuts, brazil nuts, seeds, canola oil, and dark green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli. 

A Note On Transfats

Transfats are partially hydrogenated fats that are unhealthy types of fats found in snacks and some dietary supplements. Eating these trans fatty acids raises your bad cholesterol and can have damaging effects on the heart.

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