Teachers Notes on Activity 1: Warm Up!

I. The Food Pyramid

  1. How many food groups are in the pyramid?
  2. Make a table listing the food groups and give the recommended number of servings for each group.

II. Nutrition

  1. List the 6 categories of nutrients.
  2. Which of these nutrients in food provide energy to our bodies?

Answer taken from http://www.ift.org/car/food_ind/mod4.html#nutrition
Do you know which foods you should eat to help you stay healthy? Do you know how to read a food label to help you choose the healthiest food products in the supermarket? Nutrition is the process by which the foods we eat provide the nutrients we need to grow and stay healthy. Nutrients are naturally occurring chemical substances found in food. There are six categories of nutrients: proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water.

Proteins contain amino acids, sometimes referred to as the building blocks of protein. Dietary protein is supplied from plant and animal sources. Proteins are needed to build and repair body tissue and for the metabolic functions of our bodies.

Lipids include fats and oils from plants and animals. Cholesterol is a fat found only in animal products. Lipids are of special interest because they are linked to the development of heart disease, the leading cause of death among Americans.

The carbohydrates in our diet come from plant foods. Simple carbohydrates include the different forms of sugar, while complex carbohydrates include starches and dietary fiber.

Vitamins are chemical compounds in our food that are needed in very small amounts (in milligrams and micrograms) to regulate the chemical reactions in our bodies.

Minerals, also needed only in small amounts, have many different functions. Some minerals assist in the body's chemical reactions and others help form body structures.

Fifty to sixty percent of our body weight consists of water. It is the substance in which the metabolic reactions occur. We need about two quarts (2 liters) of water every day.

Protein, fats and carbohydrates in food provide the energy, or kilocalories (kcals), our bodies need to function. Each gram of protein and carbohydrate has 4 kilocalories; each gram of fat has 9. You might have noticed that we use the metric system - grams, milligrams and micrograms - to measure the amounts of nutrients in foods. Note: 1 kilocalorie = 1 Calorie

III. Nutrition Food Labels

    Write a summary of the Dietary Components from the Nutrition Facts on Nutrition Food Labels.

Answer taken from: Dietary Components at http://www.fda.gov/fdac/special/foodlabel/facts.html

What can consumers expect? First, they will see a new name for the nutrition panel. It used to go by "Nutrition Information Per Serving." Now, it will be called "Nutrition Facts." That title will signal to consumers that the product is newly labeled according to FDA and FSIS' new regulations.

The new panel will be built around a new set of dietary components. The mandatory (boldfaced) and voluntary dietary components and order in which they must appear are:

IV. 'Daily Values' Encourage Healthy Diet

  1. Write a sentence describing each of the following, DVs, DRVs, RDIs, and RDAs.
  2. Write a description of how the DRV for energy producing nutrients are calculated.

Answer taken from: http://www.fda.gov/fdac/special/foodlabel/dvs.html

DVs (Daily Values): a new dietary reference term that will appear on the food label. It is made up of two sets of references, DRVs and RDIs.

DRVs (Daily Reference Values): a set of dietary references that applies to fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, carbohydrate, protein, fiber, sodium, and potassium.

RDIs (Reference Daily Intakes): a set of dietary references based on the Recommended Dietary Allowances for essential vitamins and minerals and, in selected groups, protein. The name "RDI" replaces the term "U.S. RDA."

RDAs (Recommended Dietary Allowances): a set of estimated nutrient allowances established by the National Academy of Sciences. It is updated periodically to reflect current scientific knowledge.


DRVs for the energy-producing nutrients (fat, carbohydrate, protein, and fiber) are based on the number of calories consumed per day. For labeling purposes, 2,000 calories has been established as the reference for calculating percent Daily Values. This level was chosen, in part, because many health experts say it approximates the maintenance calorie requirements of the group most often targeted for weight reduction: postmenopausal women.

Also, unlike the 2,350-calorie reference that FDA used in its proposal, 2,000 calories is a rounded number, which makes it easier for consumers to calculate their individual nutrient needs.

The label will include--at least on larger packages--a footnote on the nutrition panel in which daily values for selected nutrients for both a 2,000- and a 2,500-calorie diet are listed. Manufacturers have the option of listing daily values for other calorie levels, if label space allows and as long as the Daily Values for the other two levels are listed, too.

Whatever the calorie level, DRVs for the energy-producing nutrients are always calculated as follows:

Thus, someone who consumes 3,000 calories a day--a teenage boy, for example--would have a recommended intake for fat of 100 g or less per day. [0.30 times 3,000 = 900; 900 (calories) divided by 9 (calories per g of fat) = 100 g]. See the Counting Calories chart (34K PDF file) for an illustration of how to apply the nutrition label information to your individual needs.

V. Counting Calories (PDF file)

Answer taken from: http://www.fda.gov/fdac/graphics/foodlabelspecial/pg44.pdf

From the previous question,

2000 Calories .30 = 600 Calories from Fat

2000 Calories .60 = 1200 Calories from Carbohydrates

2000 Calories .10 = 200 Calories from Protein

Calories per gram: Calculation:

Nutrients C/g Calculation Result
Fat 9 C/g 600 Calories 9 C/g about 67 g* of Fat
Carbohydrate 4 C/g 1200 Calories 4 C/g 300 g of Carbohydrate
Protein 4 C/g 300 Calories 4 C/g 75 g of Protein

* Notice that the Nutrition Labels use about 65 g of Fat for a 2000 Calorie diet.

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