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Healthy Eating and the Food Pyramid

For most people, maintaining a desirable weight and body fat percentage can only be achieved through an integrated program of nutrition and exercise-or balancing energy intake with energy expenditure. To reduce weight and body fat requires cutting back on calories and increasing the amount of exercise. Dieting alone won't work. Even when a person's weight-control system has genetic flaws that may respond to newly available pharmaceuticals, proper nutrition and plenty of exercise is still part of the prescription for health.

Food Pyramid
Most Americans have more than enough to eat, but many people don't eat a healthy range of foods. Consuming too many calories from any kind of food source can produce fat. One of the best models for healthy eating is represented in the Food Pyramid. To get the proper daily nutritional value:

  • Eat a variety of foods
  • Eat a high-fiber diet (choose more grains, fruits and vegetables instead of protein, fats and sugar)
  • Maintain a low-fat, low-cholesteral diet (eat no more than 30% of calories from fat, including only 10% from saturated fat)
  • Use moderate amounts of salt and sodium and choose sugar substitutes
  • Limit alcoholic intake

Breaking Old Habits

Often the first step to a good diet lies in changing food and eating behavior:

  • Don't skip meals
  • Eat a series of small meals throughout the day and avoid a big meal late in the evening
  • Eat and chew slowly
  • Use a smaller-sized plate to achieve a "full plate"
  • Don't go back for seconds
  • Bake or broil food instead of frying
  • Order from light menus and purchase low-calorie or low-fat foods
    (remember that
    low-fat does not necessarily mean low-calorie)
  • Learn about food values and make healthy combinations in meals
  • Weigh yourself regularly and focus on measuring body fat percentage
  • Reward yourself with non-food pleasures

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