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How to choose nutritious foods

Increasing scientific evidence indicates that what you eat can make a big difference in your health and well-being.

Increasing scientific evidence indicates that what you eat can make a big difference in your health and well-being. Studies also show that foods high in fat and sugar and low in fiber and complex carbohydrates are increasingly linked with a variety of diseases. Many foods are processed in factories, while others are fabricated or engineered in laboratories. One way to choose nutritious foods is to find out what's in the foods you're buying. In 1990, Congress passed the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act to clear up confusion over food ingredients. All packaged foods, meat, and poultry products must have nutrition information on their labels. To make comparisons easier, packages now express nutrition information exactly the same way from package to package. You can learn much about a food by reading the label, such as seeing how much total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugar, and protein are in a particular food, as well as what its other ingredients are. This is a good way to also find out what chemicals, additives, and preservatives the food may contain. The U-S Department of Agriculture developed the 'food pyramid' in 1992, which gives you a visual picture of which foods are the most nutritious and should be consumed in the greatest quantities. Foods are categorized into six groups, with the breads, cereals, rice, and pasta group at the base of the pyramid, and fats, oils, and sweets at the top. To learn more about how to choose nutritious foods, contact a health care professional.

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