Evaluate Your Food Intake

Nutrition, Labeling, and PackagingWhat should we do to stay healthy?

Recommendations for nutrient intakes have been developed by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences National Research Council. The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) are standards believed to be adequate to meet the nutrient needs of most healthy people. The RDA are established for age and sex groups.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have developed the "Dietary Guidelines for Americans" which recommend we:

- Eat a variety of foods.

- Maintain a healthy weight.

- Choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.

- Use sugars only in moderation.

- Use salt and sodium only in moderation.

- As adults, if we choose to drink alcoholic beverages, we should do so in moderation.

- These recommendations have been made for Americans older than two years of age. It is believed that by following these suggestions, Americans could reduce their risk for obesity (overweight), hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke, heart disease, the most common form of diabetes, certain forms of cancer, and alcoholism.


What is a "healthy" diet?

"Food guides" are designed to help us learn the types and amounts of foods we need to eat every day for adequate nutrition. These guidelines divide foods into different groups based on the amounts of nutrients the foods contain.

Other guidelines, based on the recommendations in the "Dietary Guidelines for Americans," have been developed to help people choose a healthy diet.

In 1992 the U.S. Department of Agriculture released the "Food Guide Pyramid" to replace the "Basic Four Food Groups." The leaflet entitled, "The Food Guide Pyramid: Beyond the Basic 4," also is available in the reference library.

There is a national nutrition education campaign, co-sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), to encourage Americans to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. The "5 a Day" health promotion was developed in 1988 by the California Department of Health Services. The "Eat More Fruits & Vegetables" leaflet explains the "5 a Day" plan and is available in the reference library.