The U.S. Government publishes the Dietary Guidelines for nutrition. I am unclear on how to interpret the tables for Healthy Eating Patterns. Can you clarify how I read the data?

Looking at Table A3-1. Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern: Recommended Amounts of Food From Each Food Group at 12 Calorie Levels, first column (1000 Cal), Vegetables Food Group, I do not understand why the Daily Amount of food from each group does match up to the weekly recommended amounts. How do the daily and weekly data correlate?

My thought was for 1000 calorie diet, it is recommended to eat 1 cup of vegetables. Limit the vegetables choices to the recommended values per week depending on what you eat. Does that sound right? So, it is recommended to eat up to 1/2 cup of Dark Green vegetables per week; or up to 2.5 cups per week of Red/Orange vegetables.

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  • In the original article, below the table, there should be an explanation for Calorie Level or Pattern (a) and Food Group (b) (as you see in the upper left corner of the table). I explained it below.
    – Jan
    Jan 18, 2017 at 19:54

2 Answers 2



Question: Why the Daily Amount of food from each group does match up to the weekly recommended amounts?

Answer: The daily amount is for calories, which means that for individuals who consume 1,000 Cal per day (every day, so 7,000 Cal per week), Guidelines recommend 1/2 cups of dark green vegetables per week.

Calories are listed as per day, because people usually know how much calories they consume per day not per week. Foods are per week to show that you do not need to eat them every single day.

The Daily Value (DV) is an estimated amount of a nutrient a sedentary person (who spends about 2,000 Calories per day) needs per day. For a certain food, the DV of a nutrient is expressed in percents of total daily needs for that nutrient.


According to (a chart with Daily Values of main nutrients from FDA.gov, the Daily Value for iron (for someone who spends 2K Calories per day) is 18 mg per day. One serving (30 grams) of raw spinach (NutritionData) contains 0.8 grams of iron, which is 5% of the daily value for this person.

If you are more active and spend, for example, 3,000 Calories per day, your Daily Value would be 3/2 of the Daily Value from that chart, so, for iron, 18 mg x 3/2 = 27 mg of iron. In this case, 30 grams of spinach would give you only 2/3 of the 5%, that is 3.3% of DV of iron.

My comment on the chart the OP has pasted in the question: If you want at least nearly accurate results, you need to check the Daily Value for an exact food and not just a "food group." Spinach and lettuce are both "vegetables" but contain very different amounts of iron.


Found the answer at: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/vegetables

The Daily Amounts are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity, beyond normal daily activities. Those who are more physically active may be able to consume more while staying within calorie needs.

Vegetable subgroup recommendations are given as amounts to eat WEEKLY. It is not necessary to eat vegetables from each subgroup daily. However, over a week, try to consume the amounts listed from each subgroup as a way to reach your daily intake recommendation.

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