It seems like every year, we hear more and more about what we should eat from a variety of sources.
Now, the government is taking its turn at advising you on what you should eat.
The old food pyramid was compromised of, well, a pyramid.
Created in 1992 by the USDA, the pyramid was divided into six horizontal sections containing depictions of foods from each section's food group.
These guidelines were updated in 2011 and the pyramid was converted to a plate.
The USDA now offers you a neat visual (see photo, bottom left) that is broken up by suggested serving size portions located directly on a plate.
That visual is just one of the positive changes.
Following is a list of both the pros and the cons of the new guidelines.
Pros of the New Federal Food Guidelines
It encourages people to eat less
Plates are getting larger and larger in restaurants and even home. The idea the new food guidelines encourage, is for people to fill the inside of the plate, but not extend the food to the edges.
Many times, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and we tend to fill our plates from edge to edge, which leads to overeating. The new food pyramid takes all the servings recommended and neatly compiles them in the center of the plate.
More fruits and vegetables
While we don't often think of fruits being served directly on our dinner plates, this new visual provided by the FDA puts the serving right on the plate so one can see how much we should intake daily.
In our diets currently, we're so accustomed to eating more processed foods, like packaged potatoes or macaroni and cheese, that we sometimes forget that we should eat more vegetables and fruits.
With this new visual, it's more clearly showcased.
Hold the dairy
While dairy is considered key in our diets, in the new guidelines, the serving size is conveniently summed up in a glass.
That's good for two reasons: 1) It encourages people to actually drink milk with nothing else. Not milk in cereal or as part of your meal preparation, but stand-alone; and 2) There's a tendency to consume more dairy in our diet than is necessary.
With this new visual, it's easy to see how we should limit diary intake in order to meet our daily recommended goals.
Cons of the New Federal Food Guidelines
Lots of carbohydrates recommended
For people with certain health conditions, too many carbs can spell trouble; especially when most people associate carbs with grains that eventually break down into sugar.
A better idea would be to list various types of "good carbs" that won't derail a diet or cause havoc on people with certain health conditions.
The new recommendations seem to be based on the assumption that the general public knows what the difference between a "good carb" and a "bad carb" is.
It doesn't list the types of foods that you should consume based upon the food type. Some fruits and vegetables can count toward your carb intake, but unless a person has done their own research, those facts may be overlooked.
The Guidelines Provide a Structure
Overall, the food recommendations from the FDA are a good visual way to know how to structure your daily diet. Following the recommendation put forth by the FDA and conducting your own research on what foods are best for you, especially for those with health conditions, would be a the best choice.
If you need help making good-for-you food choices, talk with our nutrition specialists at Bootique Fitness. We include customized nutrition programs with all of our boot camp and personal training memberships. Get started today by trying out a free San Diego boot camp class. (http://bootiquefitness.com/trial)
Jaylin Allen is a local fitness expert in San Diego, known for getting her clients in shape in record time through her popular "Boot Camps For Women" and "Zumba" classes. For more information about Jaylin, fitness, or her classes, be sure to check out Bootique Fitness or call (619) 602-8087.