The MyPyramid Food Guide

Some Fats Are Healthy for the Heart
The USDA officially released the Food Guide Pyramid in 1992 to help the American public make dietary choices that would maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. The updated guide, now known as MyPlate, was released in 2011. MyPyramid translates the Dietary Guidelines for Americans into a total diet that meets nutrient needs from food sources and aims to moderate or limit dietary components often consumed in excess. MyPyramid recommends that most of the fats you eat should be polyunsaturated (PUFA) or monounsaturated (MUFA). Oils are the major source of MUFAs and PUFAs in the diet. PUFAs contain some fatty acids that are necessary for health—called “essential fatty acids.”

Because oils contain these essential fatty acids, there is an allowance for oils in the MyPyramid food guide separate from the discretionary calorie allowance.

The MUFAs and PUFAs found in vegetable oils, fish and nuts do not raise LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels in the blood and may in fact lower them. In addition to the essential fatty acids they contain, oils are the major source of Vitamin E in typical American diets.

While some vegetable oil is needed for health, oils still contain calories. Keep the amount of oils consumed within the total allowed for caloric needs. A person’s allowance for oils depends on age, sex, and level of physical activity. Click on the following link for daily allowances:

The Nutrition Facts label also provides information to help you make smart choices. Look for amounts of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fat under the total fat listing.