The Pulse

This SPECIAL REPORT focuses on the new USDA Food Pyramid. Welcome to The Pulse. An online health and wellness journal created to bring readers a comprehensive view into today's most important topics. We hope you enjoy The Pulse and that the information you find here will help you and your family enjoy a healthier life.

WASHINGTON, April 19, 2005 -

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today unveiled MyPyramid, a new symbol and interactive food guidance system. "Steps to a Healthier You," MyPyramid's central message, supports President Bush's HealthierUS initiative which is designed to help Americans live longer, better and healthier lives. MyPyramid, which replaces the Food Guide Pyramid introduced in 1992, is part of an overall food guidance system that emphasizes the need for a more individualized approach to improving diet and lifestyle.

"MyPyramid is about the ability of Americans to personalize their approach when choosing a healthier lifestyle that balances nutrition and exercise," said Johanns. "Many Americans can dramatically improve their overall health by making modest improvements to their diets and by incorporating regular physical activity into their daily lives."

World's Fastest Growing Weight Loss Company Weighs in on New Food Pyramid 20 Apr 2005

The new Food Pyramid released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proves that one size does not fit all when it comes to weight loss and healthy nutrition. The new standard replaces a single pyramid with 12 pyramids, individually tailored to fit various lifestyles. That degree of personalization is the precise model on which LA Weight Loss has been based since 1989.

"The new standard shows once and for all that diets must be customized to the individual according to their lifestyle, activity levels, and age groups," says Dr. Boyd Lyles, Medical Director of LA Weight Loss and Director of the HeartHealth and Wellness Center in Dallas. "Our program has always espoused the same approach: providing our clients with one-on-one counseling and personalized meal plans developed specifically to individual needs."

Dr. Lyles is available for immediate interviews, and can provide members of the press with expert commentary and analysis regarding the USDA's updated Food Pyramid.

As part of the revamped model, the USDA has wisely reduced the amount of daily sugar intake and increased the daily amount of fruits and vegetables, which matches exactly with the LA Weight Loss program's recommendations of low sugar, low saturated fat, high fiber, and an emphasis fruits and vegetables. As a result, it's now even easier for LA Weight Loss clients to follow these new recommendations because they are consistent with the long-held guidelines of the program.

Both LA Weight Loss and the USDA stress meal planning and portion control as crucial to establishing the healthy eating habits that lead to short-term weight loss and long-term weight maintenance. Meal planning, for example, is essential when trying to consume more servings of fruits and vegetables a day; and time needs to be allotted for frequent grocery store visits to ensure the freshest, ripest produce.

One area that the USDA does not address, however, is the role of support systems to help maintain its suggested food guide in the everyday diet. While the new standards do provide a more balanced approach to healthy eating, the majority of Americans may find the guidelines difficult to follow. That's why LA Weight Loss not only provides clients with menu ideas, but also basic nutritional counseling and one-on-one support.

About LA Weight Loss Centers

LA Weight Loss Centers Inc. is the world's fastest growing weight loss company, with 700 centers worldwide. LA Weight Loss has helped more than one million women and men lose weight through customized meal plans, a balanced diet, and one-on-one weight loss counseling. The Company is based in Horsham, Pa.

SOURCE LA Weight Loss Centers

Get Physical.

Physical activity simply means movement of the body that uses energy. Walking, gardening, briskly pushing a baby stroller, climbing the stairs, playing soccer, or dancing the night away are all good examples of being active. For health benefits, physical activity should be moderate or vigorous and add up to at least 30 minutes a day.

Moderate physical activities include:

• Walking briskly (about 3 miles per hour)
• Hiking
• Gardening/yard work
• Dancing
• Golf (walking and carrying clubs)
• Bicycling (less than 10 miles per hour)
• Weight training (general light workout)

Vigorous physical activities include:

• Running/jogging (5 miles per hour)
• Bicycling (more than 10 miles per hour)
• Swimming (freestyle laps)
• Aerobics
• Walking very fast (4 miles per hour)
• Heavy yard work, such as chopping wood
• Weight lifting (vigorous effort)
• Basketball (competitive)

Some physical activities are not intense enough to help you meet the recommendations. Although you are moving, these activities do not increase your heart rate, so you should not count these towards the 30 or more minutes a day that you should strive for. These include walking at a casual pace, such as while grocery shopping, and doing light household chores.

Discretionary Calories

What are discretionary calories? You need a certain number of calories to keep your body functioning and provide energy for physical activities. Think of the calories you need for energy like money you have to spend. Each person has a total calorie “budget.” This budget can be divided into “essentials” and “extras.”

With a financial budget, the essentials are items like rent and food. The extras are things like movies and vacations. In a calorie budget, the “essentials” are the minimum calories required to meet your nutrient needs. By selecting the lowest fat and no-sugar-added forms of foods in each food group you would make the best nutrient “buys.” Depending on the foods you choose, you may be able to spend more calories than the amount required to meet your nutrient needs. These calories are the “extras” that can be used on luxuries like solid fats, added sugars, and alcohol, or on more food from any food group. They are your “discretionary calories.”

Each person has an allowance for some discretionary calories. But, many people have used up this allowance before lunch-time! Most discretionary calorie allowances are very small, between 100 and 300 calories, especially for those who are not physically active. For many people, the discretionary calorie allowance is totally used by the foods they choose in each food group, such as higher fat meats, c heeses, whole milk, or sweetened bakery products.

What is a "Healthy Diet"?

The Dietary Guidelines describe a healthy diet as one that
• Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products;
• Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and
• Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

The recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines and in MyPyramid are for the general public over 2 years of age. MyPyramid is not a therapeutic diet for any specific health condition. Individuals with a chronic health condition should consult with a health care provider to determine what dietary pattern is appropriate for them.

Inside the Pyramid, get to know the basics.


Make half your grains whole grains. Eat at least 3 ounces of whole grain bread, cereal, crackers, rice or pasta every day. Look for "whole" before the grain name on the list of ingredients.


Vary your veggies. Eat more dark green veggies. Eat more orange veggies. Eat more dry beans and peas.


Focus on fruits. Eat a variety of fruit. Choose fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruit.


Know your fats. Make most of your fat sources from fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. Limit solid fats like butter, stick margarine, shortening, and lard.


Get your calcium-rich foods. Go low-fat or fat-free. If you don't or can't consume milk, choose lactose-free products or other calcium sources.

Meat & Beans

Go lean on protein. Choose low-fat or lean meats and poultry. Bake it, broil it, or grill it. Vary your choices—with more fish, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.


* Food Pyramid
* Inside the New Food Pyramid
* Wikipedia: MyPyramid