ROCHESTER, MINN. -- There is no Mayo Clinic Diet. But, there is a new Mayo Clinic Healthy Food Pyramid. This is the first food pyramid developed to encourage weight loss, weight maintenance and long term health.
The Mayo Clinic Healthy Food Pyramid was developed with scientific principles, research and patient care experience by Mayo Clinic physicians and dieticians. The pyramid is also based on research conducted by weight-loss experts at Pennsylvania State University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The new Mayo Clinic Healthy Food Pyramid is designed to help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Important aspects of the pyramid include:
* Focusing on low-energy-dense foods. The Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid‘ is geared toward achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
* Emphasis on choices that promote health within each food group.
* An unlimited allowance of whole vegetables and fruits -- a practice first tried by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and found to be effective for weight management.
* Physical activity is at the center of the pyramid, to encourage a central role for regular physical activity.
What is energy density? Energy density basically means you feel full eating fewer calories. The energy density of a food refers to the calories in a given amount of food. Foods with high-energy density contain a large number of calories in a relatively small amount of food. High-energy density foods often contain a high amount of fat or sugar.
Foods with low-energy density usually contain a small number of calories in a large amount of food. Low energy density foods often consist of high amounts of water and fiber. Within each food group, the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid‘ emphasizes eating foods with low-energy density.
Fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grain carbohydrates such as pasta, baked potatoes and brown rice occupy a large volume, take a relatively longer time to eat and lead to a lower overall calorie intake. This promotes weight loss and you still feel satisfied.
The food groups: The foundation of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Food Pyramid is unlimited amounts of vegetables and fruits (minimum 4 servings/day). One serving of vegetables equals 25 calories; one serving of fruit equals 60 calories. That is 2 cups leafy vegetable, 1 cup solid vegetable or 1/2 cup sliced fruit.
Level two in the Mayo Clinic Healthy Food Pyramid is carbohydrates including whole grains - pasta, bread, rice and cereals (4-8 servings/day). One serving of carbohydrate equals 70 calories. That is 1/2 cup grain or cereal or 1 slice bread.
Protein/dairy is the third level of the pyramid with both plant-based and animal-based recommendations such as beans, fish, lean meat, low-fat dairy (3-7 servings/day). One serving equals 70 calories. That is 1/3 cup beans, 3 ounces meat or fish or 1 cup skim milk.
Fats, the fourth level of the pyramid, includes heart-healthy olive oil, nuts, canola oil and avocados (3-5 servings/day). One serving of fat equals 45 calories. That is 1teaspoon oil or 1 tablespoon nuts.
Sweets form the tip of the pyramid, including candy and other processed sweets, equals up to 525 calories a week.
The Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid is included in the forthcoming book, Mayo Clinic on Healthy Weight, available in December 2000.
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