How to use the 5 food groups

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You can use the 5 food groups, as a tool for long term weight loss in a variety of ways. Below is some information that you will already know, and how this can help you lose weight and maintain it.

The traditional 5 food groups:

A healthy food pyramid categorises food into five groups:

  • breads and grains
  • fruit and vegetables (this can be separated into 2 groups, fruit as one vegetables as another
  • dairy
  • meal and protein
  • fats, oils, extras - fast food is included here too

Traditionally this is also tells us what we should be eating each day, from most to least ie lots of grains and breads (unprocessed) and fruit and vegetables, and less of the others.

So, how do we use the 5 food groups to lose weight?

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Eating healthy, and the right amounts is the key to losing weight and maintaining it, doing it all at once can be overwhelming, so you can use the 5 food groups in a step by step process:

  1. Use it to change the type of food you're eating. Look at what you're eating now and start by minimising the amount of foods you're eating in the top half of the pyramid, and focusing on eating more in the bottom half of the pyramid. Effectively you're swapping high energy foods for lower energy foods. This gets you eating less processed foods and starts you on healthier eating.
  2. Then you can look at the quantities of these foods. Once the type of food you're taking in is better, and you've adjusted to this, then start working with the quantities of this food. Even the best food will put on weight if you eat more of it than you're body needs

Take a look at these things when looking at reducing the amount:

  • How much fat and sugar is in your foods? You may now be eating healthier fats (like plant oils), but how much are you eating. Cut back in the amount you cook with, look at where you add it to foods, like sauces etc. How much sugar are you adding to things like coffee, tea and cereals?
  • If getting fresh vegetables into your day is still difficult, use frozen. As well as that they are easy to measure, aim for 2 cups of frozen veggies at dinner, and look at limiting your breads and grains.

    Breads and grains are good, but even healthy ones have become a major part of our diet, and many of us aren't using the energy that they are supplying. Look at how much you're eating, while a tradition pyramid puts these on the bottom, where you should be eating the most of, I have found that of the five food groups, they are overinflated.

Much of our increased weight is due to two major factors, the type of food we eat, and the quantity.

A healthy food pyramid puts our focus back on less processed foods, which on it's own will help us lose weight, and then by adjusting the quantities we can continue the process, and because we're taking it slowly, we're giving ourselves time to get used to better eating for the long term, and longer lasting weight loss.



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