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July 2, 2013

Diet, exercise work better together

Nutrition and exercise should be addressed in conjunction with one another. Focusing on one aspect more than the other will yield less than optimal fitness results. 

This article will discuss the importance of proper dietary intake and basic information involving macronutrients.

DAILY DIET

The first step in evaluating a person’s diet is to compare their dietary information to the recommendations offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA created a guide for healthy eating called MyPlate, which has replaced the all-too-familiar food pyramid of the past. The “my” in “MyPlate” represents the importance of personalizing the recommendations to one’s lifestyle, while the plate symbol provides visualization of how much a person’s diet should be made of the food groups. These food groups consist of grains, vegetables, fruits, protein and dairy.

The USDA MyPlate design proposes three main dietary goals for Americans. The first goal involves balancing calories. This step encourages people to enjoy their food, but avoid oversized portions. The second goal focuses on increasing consumption of certain foods. This would involve making half your plate fruits and vegetables, replacing half your grains with whole grains and switching to fat-free or low-fat milk. The third goal emphasizes reducing certain foods. For instance, individuals should opt for lower sodium foods and drink water instead of sugar-laden drinks.

An example menu plan for a 5-foot-6-inch 140-pound active male who is 22 years old would consist of 10 ounces of grains, 3.5 cups of vegetables, 2.5 cups of fruit, 3 cups of dairy and 7 ounces of protein. These quantities represent the daily serving sizes.

For additional information on MyPlate, visit www.ChooseMyPlate.gov. This website offers tools to create customized meal plans, analyze a diet and track physical activity.

NUTRIENTS

It’s important to have a basic understanding of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, and the recommended amounts for consumption.

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