The Food Groups
A healthy diet is composed of several groups of foods. The United States government developed the food pyramid in 1992 to suggest nutrition guidelines and intake endorsements for each of the food categories. The foods that we consume on a daily basis fall into food groups. The United States Department of Agriculture recognizes six major food groups. These groups are grains, vegetables, fruits, meat and beans, milk and fats. The foods in these groups all play important roles in nutrition and health. In April 2005, the United States Department of Agriculture released the MyPyramid food guidance system, a restructure of the older food pyramid focused on making healthy food choices and leading an active lifestyle. Any food made from wheat, oats, rice, cornmeal, barely or a cereal grain is considered a grain product. Grains are also known as carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the body's primary energy source, which is the reason why grains are so important for our health. Foods such as pasta, oatmeal, cereal, bread and rice are grains. There are two types of grains, whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains are made from the entire grain. They are good sources of fiber, which help to reduce cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. Refined grains are processed to remove parts of the grain known as the bran and germ, which strips the grain of most of its fiber and nutrients. Refined grains are then enhanced to add back iron and B vitamins. It is suggested at least half of grains eaten to be whole grains. Imagine there was a medicine that could reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, lower high blood pressure, prevent vision and digestive-system problems, and possibly lower the risk of cancer. There is no real medicine that can do all that, but according to the Harvard School of Public Health, you can get all of those health benefits just by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Despite their health benefits, only 10 percent...
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