The USDA issued the Food Guide Pyramid (FGP) to help Americans choose healthy diets. We examined whether adherence to the 1992 and 2005 FGP was associated with moderate energy and adequate nutrient intakes. We used data for 2138 men and 2213 women > 18 y old, from the 2001-2002 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Quadratic programming was used to generate diets with minimal departure from intakes reported for the NHANES 2001-02. We examined the effect of the number of servings/d of Food Pyramid groups set at 1992 and at 2005 FGP recommendations for 1600, 2200, and 2800 kcal (1 kcal = 4.184 kJ) levels. We calculated energy and nutrients provided by different FGP dietary patterns. Within current U.S. dietary practices, following the 1992 FGP without sodium restriction may provide 200 more kcal than recommended for each energy level. Although it can meet most of old nutrient recommendations (1989), it fails to meet the latest dietary reference intakes, especially for the 1600 kcal level. The 2005 FGP appears to provide less energy and more adequate nutrient intakes, with the exception of vitamin E and potassium for some groups. However, without discretionary energy restriction, Americans are at risk of having excessive energy intake even if they follow the 2005 FGP food serving recommendations. Our analysis suggests that following the 2005 FGP may be associated with lower energy and optimal nutrient intake. Careful restriction of discretionary calories appears necessary for appropriate energy intakes to be maintained.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics