Nutrition Guides

piramide-naosA nutrition guide is a reference that provides nutrition advice for general health, typically by dividing foods into food groups and recommending servings of each group. Nutrition guides can be presented in written or visual form, and are commonly published by government agencieshealth associations and university health departments.

Spain’s Ministry of Health, Social Policy and Equality uses the NAOS Pyramid (SpanishPirámide NAOS), which promotes a Mediterranean diet as well as plenty of physical activity, and is drawn as a sailboat on water. It is divided into beverages and water at the base; an equal division between physical activity and a combination of grains, vegetables, tubers, fruit, olive oil and dairy in the second level, which is labeled “several times a day” and color-coded green; an equal division between sports and a combination of meat, fish, eggs, legumes and nuts in the third level, which is labeled “several times a week” and is color-coded orange; and an apex of saturated fats, sugars, salt, and sedentary activity labeled “occasionally” and color-coded red.

The Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is a modern nutritional recommendation inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of Italy, Greece, Spain and Morocco. The principal aspects of this diet include high olive oil consumption, high consumption of legumes, high consumption of unrefined cereals, high consumption of fruits, high consumption of vegetables, moderate consumption of dairy products (mostly as cheese and yogurt), moderate to high consumption of fish, low consumption of meat and meat products, and moderate wine consumption.

On November 17, 2010, UNESCO recognized this diet pattern as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Italy, Greece, Spain and Morocco.

mediterranean_dietBased on “food patterns typical of Crete, much of the rest of Greece, and southern Italy in the early 1960s”, this diet, in addition to “regular physical activity,” emphasizes “abundant plant foods, fresh fruit as the typical daily dessert, olive oil as the principal source of fat, dairy products (principally cheese and yogurt), and fish and poultry consumed in low to moderate amounts, zero to four eggs consumed weekly, red meat consumed in low amounts, and wine consumed in low to moderate amounts”. Total fat in this diet is 25% to 35% of calories, with saturated fat at 8% or less of calories.

Olive oil is particularly characteristic of the Mediterranean diet. It contains a very high level of monounsaturated fats, most notably oleic acid, which epidemiological studies suggest may be linked to a reduction in coronary heart disease risk. There is also evidence that the antioxidants in olive oil improve cholesterol regulation and LDL cholesterol reduction, and that it has other anti-inflammatory and anti-hypertensive effects.

Nutrition Guides in the world

In Germany, Ireland, Italy also have a Food Pyramid, wich is similar to NAOS. China adopted the food pagoda. Other countries have a specific nutrition guides, with different organization. In UK, Mexico, Sweden use the Eatwell plate. And in the USA My Plate

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