The U.S. government is now considering altering the Food Guide Pyramid because so many Americans don't understand it--especially the serving sizes. Since 1994, the federal government has used the Food Guide Pyramid as its primary tool for guiding Americans toward healthful eating. But a new study presented Monday at the American Dietetic Association's annual meeting found that most Americans do not eat the recommended serving sizes for many foods. This, in part, may be contributing to increasing obesity rates among adults and children in the United States.
The lead researcher looked at a survey of 2-day food intakes that included approximately 16,000 Americans over the age of 2. She investigated the amount of food they consumed at a single time, considering this as a single serving. Oftentimes what Americans eat exceeds what a Food Guide Pyramid serving size is. French fries are consumed at almost two and half servings at a time -- 10 French fries equals a Food Guide Pyramid serving of potatoes.
With baked potatoes, most people were eating two or three servings of potato at one sitting. With pasta, most people in the study were getting about three or four servings at any one eating occasion.
Critics charge that these findings underscore how out of step the pyramid serving sizes are with the portion sizes served at home and at restaurants. An original bagel was essentially two slices of bread. They were very small, about 3 inches across. Now, a bagel is 5 inches across and it can be four or five servings from the Food Guide Pyramid.
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