There are five main food groups commonly known in the United States. In no particular order, these five groups are the grains; bread, cereals, rice, and potatoes; fruit and vegetables; meat and fish; milk and dairy products; and finally, foods containing fat and sugar.
You can find many people talking about these five groups and even six food groups, giving their own interpretation of them throughout the internet, books and magazines. I myself have given my two cents worth about these in other articles you can find on this website. However, I give a different slant to them and also find it worth repeating.
Starting with the first group, which are the grains such as bread, cereals, and rice. Potatoes are often thrown in with this group, but they are actually a vegetable.
However, they do offer similar results as other grains when it comes to energy. When you think of the grains, you think of carbohydrates (carbs). Carbohydrates produce energy.
There are two kinds of carbohydrates. One is simple carbs and the other is complex carbs. Simple carbs digest much more quickly than complex carbs. As a result, you get a burst of quick energy.
The types of foods referred to above in the grains group, which are simple carbs, are usually the ones indicated when the five groups of food are spoken of. However, if simple carbs were all you ate, this sudden burst of energy would be short lived.
On the other hand, complex carbs tend to take longer to digest. Eating foods with complex carbs will give you a more sustained energy. These types of foods are more of the whole grain variety.
The next group consists of fruits and vegetables. This group is what is considered to be nutrient dense. There are loads of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients within this group.
This group is actually a good source of carbohydrates as well. The nutrients found in fruits and vegetables are very important to the human body.
provide a long list of benefits. Some of these benefits include
boosting immunity, proper DNA synthesis, proper cell division,
prevention of degenerative diseases, maintain healthy cell membranes,
provide enzymes for a multitude of bodily functions, and creating an
overall balance within the body.
The next food group is the meat group. This is generally the protein group. We need protein for a number of bodily functions. Protein consists of amino acids. These are the basic building blocks of protein.
Protein is basically a part of every cell in the body. The body is always renewing itself and protein plays a large role in this. Here is a short list of the importance of protein.
It is involved in the development of strong bones, muscles, organs, tendons, and ligaments. It is also involved in enzymes and hormones.
The next food group is the milk and other dairy products. This is where you will find all the cheeses, creams, eggs, and yoghurts. Besides milk, these are some of the main dairy products.
A key mineral in these foods is calcium. Of all the minerals in the human body, calcium is the most abundant.
Most of it is found in the teeth and bones, but a small percentage of
it is found in other areas of the body such as the blood, muscle and
fluid between cells.
The next food group contains the fats and sugars. The recommendation is to eat from this group sparingly. I don’t agree with this comment completely. There are good fats and bad fats.
The good fats contain a combination of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Bad fats are trans fats and partially hydrogenated fats.
Good fats help keep your blood vessels from clogging while bad fats help clog your blood vessels. You should limit the bad fats you consume such as in butters and red meat.
However, consuming good fats
from products such as extra virgin olive oil for cooking, avocados and
various kinds of nuts is very beneficial. Foods that contain good fats should be eaten on a regular basis. Good fats are very beneficial for the heart.
These are your basic five food groups. When developing a diet with these in mind, try to eat more organic food instead of conventional foods.
Eat plenty of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and good fats. Limit red meat to once or twice a week, or none at all.
Limit your intake of sugary foods as well. Listen to your body
and learn what it is saying in regards to what you put into it. Eat for
health and vitality.
Jeffrey Radecki with Susan Kim. “Protein - Amino acids, Protein quality, Protein processing, Vital protein functions.” Sept. 28, 2008. http://www.faqs.org/nutrition/Pre-Sma/Protein.html Nutritional Gifts and Information. “Introducing the 5 Main Food Groups…” Sept. 28, 2008. http://www.nutritionalgifts.co.uk/five_main_food_groups.html Office of Dietary Supplements with National Institutes of Health. “Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet.” Sept. 28, 2008 http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/calcium.asp