In 1990, Congress passed the 'Nutrition Labeling and Education Act' to clear up confusion over food labels. The 'Recommended Daily Allowances,' or 'R-D-A's' are the most commonly used guidelines for determining how much of each vitamin and mineral people need to maintain health. The term 'Percent Daily Value,' or 'Percent D-V, as it appears on labels, replaced the term'R-D-A,' or 'Recommended Daily Allowances,' which had replaced the term 'Minimum Daily Requirements,' or 'M-D-R's.' The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council, part of the National Academy of Sciences, establishes the amounts. All nutrients on the label are expressed as a percentage of the daily value that one serving contributes to a 2,000-calorie diet. These recommended amounts are adjusted periodically, depending on medical research. The N-A-S currently is updating its information concerning how it sets reference values for all nutrients. The new title will be 'Dietary Reference Intakes,' or 'D-R-I's.' The U-S Department of Agriculture developed the 'food pyramid' in 1992, an update of post-World War II's 'Basic Four Food Groups.' The base of the pyramid includes the food group that people need the most from: bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. On the next level are two categories: vegetables and fruit. The next level up also contains two categories. First is the 'milk, yogurt, and cheese group;' the other is the 'meat, poultry, fish, dried beans, eggs, and nuts' group. At the top of the pyramid, which the U-S-D-A says should be used 'sparingly,' are 'fats, oils, and sweets.
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