Dietary Guidelines for North Americans and Suggestions for Food Choices

In today\'s society nearly everyone follows some kind of dietary guidelines.
Whether it is in the goal of losing weight, gaining weight or just simply to
maintain it, people are jumping onto the dietary band-wagon. A diet is
basically to take food according to rule, a mode of living in reference to
nourishment. There are various types of diets that one can follow; a high or
low calorie diet, low fat diets, diets modified in protein, minerals, water, and
carbohydrates, and so the list goes on. Many business enterprises base their
entire corporations into the field of weight loss. Many of these diet programs
are merely fads that lure desperate people in with their guarantees to lose so
many pounds or inches in an " x " amount of time. There are also many pills
that one can take, but they are not always safe and can be very damaging in the
long run. It is not all people that are on weight loss programs though. Many
athletes are on strict programs to gain weight. However this kind of desired
weight is not measured in fat but in muscle mass. Many muscle and fitness
magazines will feature advertisements and articles for such gains in body mass.
Advertisements for diets can sometimes be very dangerous though. Pretty well
all the people used in these particular ads are slim and beautiful and it can
therefor be very misinterpreting to someone who is overweight. The pressure of
being fit can lead to very damaging disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
These two very serious conditions affect a very large amount of women and men in
North America these days and can be quite lethal if not cured. So it is
important to be careful not to do any physical or psychological harm to one self
when trying to lose weight.

When embarking into any kind of diet it is extremely important that one gets the
sufficient amount of nutrients from their food and/or supplements. A proper
diet must consist of more than simply a glass of water and a piece of fruit per
meal. One must have a certain daily intake of specific vitamins and minerals to
stay in good health. If one were to follow the RDA\'s (recommended daily
allowance) guidelines, one has to be sure that the food that is consumed
contains the proper amount of nutrients that is so suggested. A lot of the
foods that we consume today do not contain the amount of vitamins and minerals
that the U.S. RDA have claimed. The reason being our obsession with colour,
taste, and texture in the food we eat and our lack of concern about it actually
being nutritious or not. Thousands of damaging pesticides, preservatives,
chemicals and colouring are raping our food of its nutritional value these days.
Therefor someone who is planning on going on a restricted calorie diet must be
careful in how they plan their daily food intake. With the help of a
nutritional guide that contains a table of food composition one can keep an
accurate record of their daily intake of protein, carbohydrates, fibres, fats,
minerals, and vitamins (see page ). This will enable a person on a restricted
weight loss program to be assured that he or she is getting all the necessary
nutrients for a well balanced diet. Along with a proper diet one
must also have some kind of exercise program in order to lose the undesired
weight and keep it off. If a person restricts themselves to dieting alone
without any type of physical exercise the human body will eventually adjust its
metabolism to the reduced calorie intake. Thus when the person returns to their
regular calorie consumption they will gain the weight right back. Medical
professionals agree that 30 minutes of moderately vigorous exercise performed
three times a week will elevate one\'s metabolism, and a higher metabolism burns
more calories. In order to lose one pound of fat, one has to burn off an extra
3500 calories on top of the calories that they consumed in their meals. So in
most cases the phrase "No pain, no gain", still holds true.

However, many people elect to take the easier route in trying to lose those
extra pounds. Billions of dollars are spent each year on diet pills, fad diets,
and other weight loss promises. These enterprises thrive on the ever growing
amount of obese people and their need for a quick and easy solution. One can\'t
turn on the television or flip through the pages of a magazine without