What Are the Main Food Groups & Their Functions?

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There are five main food groups, according to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), that constitute our diet, and the food pyramid sets a base for healthy eating.

dairy is one of the five food groups
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Whole grain foods, including brown rice, whole wheat bread and oatmeal, provide energy, fiber, various vitamins (B's, folate) and satiety. They also help reduce bad cholesterol and slow sugar absorption?an important factor for diabetics.

oatmeal is a whole grain
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This group is an excellent source of antioxidants and fiber and can provide healthier alternatives to sugary and fatty appetizers and desserts.

fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants
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Dairy products are rich sources of calcium, vitamin D, protein and B vitamins. If you are conscious about calorie intake, choose low-fat or nonfat dairy products.

low-fat varieties of dairy foods like yogurt are lower in calories
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All meats and eggs are rich sources in protein, fat (mostly saturated), vitamin B12, vitamin A (mainly from organs) and iron. However, red meat should be eaten as a side dish instead of as a main dish, while poultry and fish can be eaten regularly.

chicken is a protein source that can be eaten regularly
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These are excellent sources of protein, unsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals, and are ideal for vegetarians. Legumes also provide large amounts of energy per serving, without providing satiety.

beans like legumes are also protein rich
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This food group provides little or no nutrient value and should be consumed sparingly or none at all, with the exception of healthy oils (like canola oil or olive oil), which should be consumed in moderation.

canola is a healthy oil
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