Reaching the peak of the food pyramid
January 22, 2007
For those of you following my series on the new food pyramid, you will be happy to know that we’ve reached the top.
The peak is shared by different food groups: Butter and red meat on one side; and white rice, white bread, potatoes, pasta and sweets on the other. This final level of foods should be eaten sparingly.
The red meat and butter side are grouped together because of their high saturated fat content. As you have seen in past articles, there are good fats and bad fats ” saturated fats are bad. They raise your cholesterol and triglyceride levels and can lead to heart disease. The fewer of these foods you consume, the better your heart will be.
On the other side of the coin are foods high on the glycemic index known as starchy carbohydrates. Anything white ” such as bread, rice and pasta ” is robbed of most nutrients while being processed. Alternatively, whole wheat and whole grains still contain their vitamins and minerals. That’s not to say you should never eat white foods, but consuming sparingly is key.
For those of you who don’t prefer whole grain pasta, make the transition gradually by mixing some into your regular white flour pasta. Each time thereafter, add a little more, and before you know it you will have made the switch. Make similar changes everywhere you can.
The last part of this segment is sugar. Sugar contains calories, and anytime calories are consumed and not burned, excess will be saved in your adipose tissue, or fat cells. Life is too short to never have a treat: Just don’t let them become a daily fix.
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Remember, the key to any healthy eating plan is to consume plenty of protein, grains, fruits and vegetables, and to go lightly on the other “bad” foods. Combined with moderate exercise each week, you should live a long, healthy, and disease-free life.
Here are a few helpful hints: Eat plenty of cold water fish (for the omega-three fatty acids); green leafy vegetables (full of vitamins and cancer-fighting antioxidants); whole grains such as oats, brown rice, nuts and seeds; all varieties of fruit; moderate levels of sweets; and, as always, plenty of water. Your body will love you for it.
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