Eat Health: Why We Need the Foods We Eat

One of the things I've learned over the past year or so of studying nutrition and dietary needs is that all foods act together for a healthy body.  You can't cut out a whole food group and remain healthy.  All parts of the food groups are as necessary as all parts of the body working together.

A nutritionally sound diet consists of Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats.  Over time, our vision of a nutritionally sound diet has changed.  Look at the following images, in the order they are given and just see the changes from one to the other.  Both are US Government recommendations, one based on what our parents were told was a healthy diet and one based on what the government studies reveal is now healthy?  Why the change?  For one thing, the availability of foods overall has changed.  For another, we've moved from a nation that was formerly one in which people worked long hours at hard physical labor.  With industrialization and the elimination of manufacturing and agricultural jobs, our calorie requirements changed considerably.   

You may left click and open any of these images in a new tab.  They will appear slightly larger there and be more easily read.

You'll note this first chart relies heavily on carbohydrate rich foods.  Those were very necessary for energy and endurance.   And from my readings of 1930's and 1940's magazines I can tell you honestly that often those 2 servings of protein daily were sketchy ones.  Look at the current recommended dietary needs as portrayed by

 It is a far more balanced plate.  You'll notice all absence of fat or sweets.  The vegetables and grains are equal in portions and protein and fruits are equal as well.  And please note that round dairy serving to the side.  It's recommended as part of three meals daily.  Many people feel that as adults we no longer require dairy.   The nutritional information I was given in the hospital for a heart healthy lower calorie diet included 3 servings of lower fat dairy daily.  It was a key component in weight loss.

Compare that plate to the Iowa State Diabetic Plate method:

Here's the formal written breakdown of the dietary requirements per my diabetic educator:

Grains:  3/4 to 1 cup of good whole grains per meal: bread, pasta, rice,  OR dry beans, starchy vegetables such as potatoes, green peas and winter squash

1 small, 1/2 large, or 1/2 cup of most fruits (some, like berries and melons may be 1 cup portions)

3-4 ounces of protein, preferably lean cuts or boneless skinless chicken or fish

1 serving of dairy per meal

Up to 3 cups per meal of other, non-starchy vegetables. 

Here again, there's is an absence of visible fat or sweet in this pyramid as well.  It is understood that cooking oils and such would be 'free' foods such as

I'll be breaking down our dietary needs in future posts based on the information here, but thought you'd like to review the differences in nutritional needs based on different standards. 


Lana said...

We do eat by the new guidelines except the dairy. I do wonder why they still push milk on adults. I have wondered if it is still a political thing or truly nutritional. When I was in elementary school there was the morning milk break and that was just to boost sales for dairy farmers. I can't really see any benefit since humans cannot absorb calcium from pasteurized milk. My parents sit down to meals with their glasses of milk everyday but the thought of milk with meals just kind of gags me.

Terri Cheney said...

These posts will keep coming and you'll soon see the value. For one thing, all that Vitamin D is in milk and since most of us are so deficient in that area, milk is one good way to get it. However, you can easily use low fat milk products or vegetarian milk choices (nut milks and soy) for calcium needs.

Lana said...
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Lana said...
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