A comparison of food-based recommendations and nutrient values of three food guides: USDA's MyPyramid, NHLBI's Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Eating Plan, and Harvard's Healthy Eating Pyramid

Jill Reedy, Susan M Krebs-Smith
Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2008, 108 (3): 522-8
The purpose of this research was to compare food-based recommendations and nutrient values of three food guides: the US Department of Agriculture's MyPyramid; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Eating Plan, and Harvard University's Healthy Eating Pyramid. Estimates of nutrient values associated with following each of the food guides at the 2,000-calorie level were made using a composite approach. This approach calculates population-weighted nutrient composites for each food group and subgroup, assuming average choices within food groups. Nutrient estimates were compared to the Dietary Reference Intakes and other goals and limits. Recommendations were similar regarding almost all food groups for both the type and amount of foods. Primary differences were seen in the types of vegetables and protein sources recommended and the amount of dairy products and total oil recommended. Overall nutrient values were also similar for most nutrients, except vitamin A, vitamin E, and calcium. These food guides were derived from different types of nutrition research, yet they share consistent messages: eat more fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains; eat less added sugar and saturated fat; and emphasize plant oils.

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