Nutrition Data and Food ~ The 'Food Pyramid'

Nutrition Data and Food:  The USDA now uses a food pyramid to show how foods can be divided into categories based on nutritional relevance.  Using the food pyramid, it will be seen that foods are grouped in the following categories.  For your convenience, a link to the appropriate nutrition data page has been included here:

Maintaining Optimal Weight ~ The 'Discretionary Calories'

Nutrition Data and Optimal Weight:  The USDA uses the term 'discretionary calories' to indicate a number of calories that are used beyond those needed to cover your actual nutritional needs. 

  • First calculate your actual caloric intake needs.  This will be based on age, weight, gender, etc.
  • Then calculate the number of calories needed to obtain your essential nutritional needs for the day.
  • The number of calories available beyond that are the discretionary calories.

For many people, dietary choices are made such that their actual caloric intake needs are exceeded, and in some cases the essential nutritional needs are not met.  This pattern of eating would need to change in order to obtain the optimal weight.

Staying In Shape ~ 'Physical Activity'

Nutrition Data and Physical Activity:  Caloric needs are directly related to the amount of physical activity exerted.  Activity can be divided into two types, being moderate and vigorous.  The following list shows activities for each category as given on the USDA, 'Physical Activity' page:

Moderate physical activities include:

  • Walking briskly (about 3 ½ 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 ½ miles per hour)
  • Heavy yard work, such as chopping wood
  • Weight lifting (vigorous effort)
  • Basketball (competitive)


Read up on the
'Food Pyramid' categorization of foods at the USDA.


Find out about 'Discretionary Calories' and how to use them to stay in shape!


Stay in shape by having the proper amount of 'Physical Activity' as described by the USDA.


Discover the health benefits of fruit, and see how to reduce the risk of stroke, diabetes and certain types of cancer!


© 2007-2011 ~ a division of iRepattern