Friday, November 2, 2007

Healthy Dietary Food Portion Serving Sizes Guides (Meat, beans, Fat & Sugar)

Third Floor: Animal foods and products

Moving up the pyramid, you find foods that come mostly from animals - the Dairy group and the Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts group. Foods from this level contribute important nutrients, such as protein, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Meat and meat alternates (2 to 3 servings equivalent to a total of ounces)

Two to 3 ounces of meat, poultry, or fish (about the size of your palm) is an adequate amount of protein for a meal. Choose the select grades of beef, veal, and lamb to make sure that you get the least-marbled meats. Also, opt for lean cuts of meat, such as those from the round, loin, or leg (beef sirloin, ground round, or top round; pork tenderloin or loin chop; or leg of lamb). Select lean and extra-lean ground beef. Unless you're eating fat-free cold cuts, be extra cautious in the deli; many have more fat than lean meat per slice. Most fish are naturally lean.

In the USDA view of the food world, meats, beans, nuts, and eggs are ganged together. They all do have higher amounts of protein than other foods in the pyramid, but that's where critics say the similarities end. Red meat has been associated with increased cancer risk, and some other meat, such as cold cuts, are particularly high in fat. New scientific evidence shows that nuts have vitamin E and beans have fiber that makes them more unique, not similar to meat. Plus, the fat in fish trumps the fat in red meat and chicken.

Cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables – bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, collards, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes, rutabaga, turnip, and watercress - are the cancer-fighters from the garden. They're called cruciferous, because their flowers or buds form a cross. Besides helping to protect against colon and rectal cancer, they're also good sources of calcium, iron, and folate.

When meat is your protein of choice, trim all visible fat before cooking and remove the skin from poultry before eating. And use lower-fat cooking methods, such as roasting, broiling, and grilling instead of frying, sauteing, or panfrying. Have fish a minimum of one day a week, and make at least one meal meatless. Dried beans and peas (legumes) are a good substitute for meat in this group.

Check out these options to meet your protein needs:

Meats (each counts as 1 serving):

i. 2 to 3 ounces cooked lean beef, pork, veal, or lamb without bone

ii. 2 to 3 ounces cooked poultry without skin or bone

iii. 2 to 3 ounces cooked fish without bone

iv. 2 to 3 ounces drained, canned fish

v. Meat alternates (each counts as 1 ounce, about 1/3 serving):

vi. 1 egg (yolk and white) or 2 egg whites

vii. 1/2 cup cooked dry beans (if not counted as vegetable)

viii. 2 tablespoons peanut butter

ix. 1/4 cup seeds, such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds

x. 1/3 cup nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, or peanuts

xi. 1/2 cup baked beans

xii. 1/2 cup tofu

xiii. Meat and fish products (each counts as 1 ounce, about 1/3 serving):

xiv. 1 ounce lean ham or Canadian bacon

xv. 11/2 frankfurters (10 per pound)

xvi. 1 frankfurter (8 per pound)

xvii. 1/4 cup drained canned salmon or tuna 1/3 cup drained canned clams or crabmeat

xviii. 4 Pacific oysters or 11 Atlantic oysters

xix. 6 medium shrimp

xx. 1/4 cup drained canned lobster or shrimp

Dairy products (2 to 3 servings)

The Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese group shares the third tier of the pyramid with the Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts group. Like foods in the meat group, dairy foods are a good source of protein. They're also some of the best sources of calcium and contribute vitamins A and D to your diet as well.

A word of caution: Dairy foods can be very high in fat, so reach for fat-free, lowfat, part-skim, or reduced-fat cheeses, ice cream, frozen yogurt, ice milk, and fluid milk products when you're watching your weight. If dairy products aren't your cup of tea, so to speak, make sure you're getting enough calcium by eating more dark leafy greens. A supplement may also add to your daily requirement. But keep in mind, recent evidence shows that dairy products can actually help you lose weight. There have been many studies that prove it. One intriguing body of work done at the University of Tennessee and published in the medical journal Lipids in February 2002 concluded that increasing dietary sources of calcium, especially from dairy products, reduced body fat even without calorie restriction and accelerated weight loss when calories were cut.

If you're lactose intolerant and can't eat dairy products without becoming ill, consider milk that has been treated to reduce the amount of lactose in it. You can find several brands on the market that are worth a try.

Dairy delicious ways to get calcium and protein in your diet include the following:

i. 1 cup milk or buttermilk

ii. 1 cup yogurt

iii. 11/2 ounces natural cheese

iv. 2 ounces processed cheese

v. 2 cups cottage cheese (it's lower in calcium than most other cheeses)

vi. 1/2 cup ricotta cheese

vii. 1/2 cup dry nonfat milk

viii. 1/2 cup evaporated milk

ix. 1 cup frozen yogurt or 11/2 cups ice milk

Don't mistake cheese for the only ideal protein alternative to meat. Sure

it delivers some protein, but it also comes with an abundance of fat. If you choose not to eat meat from the meat group, go for water-packed tuna, bean and bean spreads, such as hummus (made with a minimal amount of tahini paste), and soy products, such as tempeh and tofu. Or choose reduced-fat cheeses or lower-fat varieties, such as feta, baby Swiss, and part-skim mozzarella.

Alcohol in your diet

Although alcohol isn't technically part of the pyramid, keep in mind that like items from the pyramid's tip, you get calories but no nutrients in each and every glass. Limit your consumption to no more than two drinks per day if you're male and one drink per day if you're female. A serving of alcohol is defined as

i. 12 ounces of beer

ii. 11/2 ounces of hard or distilled spirits

iii. 5 ounces of wine

Highest Floor: Fats, oils, and sweets

Just because this group is on the top of the pyramid doesn't mean that it's the best group. Instead, this placement means that, like a penthouse, few people can spend much time there. Scan the lists later in this section, and you'll see plenty of foods that you probably eat frequently. Most of these foods contribute practically no nutrients other than sugar, fat, and calories.

Grouping all fats with sugars riles some health groups. There's not much evidence to justify eating more sugar. However, critics say locking all fats and oils in the attic with sugar and sweets simply isn't fair. All fats have the same number of calories but consider the bigger picture: Trans fats, found in foods made with partially hydrogenated fat, such as some stick margarines and solid vegetable shortening, are as unhealthy as saturated fat - animal fat that's solid at room temperature. Both raise unhealthy LDL cholesterol and contribute to heart disease. Unsaturated fats, on the other hand, improve cholesterol levels and thus lower heart disease risk. The oils of nuts, seeds, and olives are unsaturated. The bottom line, use any fat sparingly; they're caloric. And when you do, make them unsaturated.


Bacon and salt pork


Cream (dairy or nondairy)

Cream cheese




Salad dressing


Sour cream

Vegetable oil



Corn syrup

Frosting (icing)

Fruit drinks (unfortified)

Gelatin desserts


Jam or jelly

Maple syrup



Popsicles and ices


Soft Drink


... andjoyohoxing