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What kind of food that we have to consume to gain energy and keeping the body in the healthy and fit condition ?

Before preparing breakfast, lunch or dinner, it is always best to understand the basic nutritional requirements for human body. A simple representation of the nutritional requirement can be represented in a form of Food Pyramid structure. Food requirement is unique for everybody.

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Food Pyramid

Food pyramid gives a suggestion on the balanced food intake. It is not a rigid guide, but a general suggestion on choosing the right diet to get a healthy life style. It is a quite ideal guide which may differ from country to country, particularly in terms of the actual food sources. However, as a basic and general suggestion, the Food Pyramid gives a guide to balance the food based on each group of food. The Asian people, for example, may have a different pattern of food consumption as compared to American who tend to consume more fat. The pyramid shows five major food groups in the three lower sections of the pyramid. Foods in one group can not be replaced by another group. Therefore, to be healthy, we need all those five major food groups, i.e.: (1) carbohydrate, (2) vegetables, (3) fruits, (4) milk, yogurt, or cheese, (5) meat, poultry, or fish products.

Food Pyramid





In a simple way to understand, the basic and utmost requirement for keeping life is the carbohydrate sources, in the lowest part of the pyramid, which may be in the form of many sources, such as bread, cereal or any carbohydrate forms. Carbohydrate serves as the sources of energy and many intermediate molecules for the synthesis of the more complex biomolecules in the cell and tissues of the body. Therefore, this food group should be consumed at the biggest portion. Carbohydrate may be obtained from many forms and sources, mainly from plant sources.


Vegetables and Fruits


Vegetables and fruits are the next important nutrition after carbohydrate sources. vegetables and fruits are the good, or even the best, sources of many vitamins, minerals, fiber and other molecules important for keeping human body in the best condition, such as antioxidant.



Milk and Poultry Food Sources

Eggs and cheese

Next after vegetables and fruits are milk and poultry food products that may be in many form, from the very basic or in the form of processed products. This food group comes mainly from animals, and important to provide protein, calcium, iron, and zinc.In general, food that comes from animals have a higher content of fat than from plants. However, there also choices of food from this group that have lower fat content. Choosing the right fat-containing food may be a very personal decision, depends on the condition of a given person.


Fats, Oil, and Sweets


The tip of the pyramid consists of fats, oils, and sweets which should be consumed sparingly. This group provides calories and little nutritions. The tip of the pyramid gives a suggestion to lower intake of sugar that may come from several sources, such as sugar used in food processing, not a naturally-occuring sugar like in milk and fruits. Added sugars in this group may also come from soft drinks, candy, syrup, or sugar we add to coffee or tea.


How Much Do We Have to Eat ?

The Food Pyramid gives a suggestion of the amount of serving we should prepare. According to Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA),food serving can be simplified in the following Table.

Food Groups

Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta

1 slice of bread

1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal

½ cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta


1 cup of raw leafy vegetables

½ cup of other vegetables, cooked or chopped raw

¾ cup of vegetable juice


1 medium apple, banana, orange

½ cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit

¾ cup of fruit juice

Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese

1 cup of milk or yogurt

1 ounce of natural cheese

2 ounces of processed cheese

Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts

2 – 3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish

½ cup of cooked dry beans,or 1 egg counts as 1 ounce of lean meat. Two tablespoons of peanut butter or 1/3 cup of nuts count as 1 ounce of meat

Source: United States Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. 1992. The Food Guide Pyramid.


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