A food guide pyramid is a simple way of knowing what are the kinds of food one needs to consume and in what amounts to ensure good health.
It is obvious that there is interplay of nutrients in the body. When we talk about nutrients it is important to know the quantity i.e. how much to take. This can be well understood by the concept of FOOD GUIDE PYRAMID. This can form a foundation for a good diet selection, providing the essential nutrients.
Definition of RDA
RDA or Recommended Daily Allowances are levels of intake of essential nutrients which are on the basis of scientific knowledge and are adequate to meet the known nutrient needs of all healthy persons.
FOOD GUIDE PYRAMID (FOR VEGETARIANS)
Cereals:Cereals form the staple diet in India e.g. rice, wheat, maize. Cereals generally lack lysine, however rice is richer in lysine compared to other cereals. Ragi, a millet, is a rich source of calcium and known as poor man's milk. Cereals do not contain Vitamin A and Vitamin C except yellow maize, which contains carotene.
1 Cereal serving = 1 katori of cooked rice or 2 phulkas or 2 slices of bread.
1 Cereal serving will supply about 100 calories and 2-3 gms. of protein.
Legumes (Pulses and Dals):Pulses are rich sources of protein (upto 22-25%). Vegetarians can meet their protein requirement by including different pulses in their diet. But they lack Vitamin A and Vitamin C. However, germination of pulses increases the Vitamin C levels. Soaking and cooking of legumes destroy their anti-nutritional factors like tannin and trypsin inhibitors and make it easier to digest. Cereal-pulse combination in a proportion of 4:1 or 3:1 is enough for its supplementary effect.
1 serving = 1 katori of cooked dal or pulse
1 serving of legumes = 100 calories and 6-7 gms. proteins.
Vegetables :Green leafy vegetables are very rich sources of Vitamin B, carotene, iron, calcium, Vitamin B complex and Vitamin C. At least fifty grams should be consumed daily by each person. Yellow-orange vegetables are good sources of Vitamin B, carotene, and lycopenes. Roots and tubers are rich in carbohydrates and contain some vitamins and minerals. Three to five servings of vegetables per day is a must and one of them should be a green leafy vegetable.
Fruits :They are rich source of vitamins, minerals and fibres. Green, yellow and orange fruits like mango, papaya contains beta-carotene. Amla, citrus fruits and guava are a rich source of vitamin C. Dried fruits like dates supply iron. Banana and jackfruit are good sources of energy. Two to three servings of fruits per day are recommended.
Milk and milk products :Milk is a good source of protein, calcium and vitamins. It is deficient in iron and Vitamin C. Whole milk has high percentage of fat (8-12%) whereas low fat or toned milk has about three percent fat. Skimmed milk has very little or no fat. Recommended servings per day is two to three servings where one serving = 1 cup (225 - 240 ml).
FOOD GUIDE PYRAMID (FOR NON-VEGETARIANS)
Meat / fish / Poultry:Egg, fish, meat etc. are included in this group. Eggs supply good quality protein, vitamins and fat. Fish, meat and chicken are good sources of protein and vitamins. Meat has more fat compared to poultry and fish. Omega 3 - PUFA in fish protects against cardiovascular diseases.
Two to three servings/day are recommended.
One serving has about 30 gms of cooked meat.
One serving provides 100 calories and 7 gms of protein.
Fat / Oils : Calories from fat should not exceed 10-15% of the total calorie intake. Fat is made use of not only during cooking (visible source) but it is also present within the food we eat such as seeds, nuts, pulses etc. Fifteen to twenty grams of visible fat (oil/ghee) is recommended per person per day.
One gm. of oil or ghee gives 9 calories.
One tsp of ghee, butter, oil = 45 calories.
Sugars:This group includes sugar, honey, jaggery, etc., which are concentrated sources of energy. Jaggery provides little iron. This group has to be used sparingly. Excessive intake of sugars is not desirable due to wide fluctuations in blood sugar and leads to obesity. 1 tsp. sugar = 20-25 calories.