Food groups have been essential in guiding the public on how to achieve a balanced diet for over a century. Many countries currently follow the recommended dietary guidelines for healthy eating, which include five food groups. These food groups are created based on shared nutritional properties or macronutrient content.
Dr. Wilbur Olin Atwater first introduced nutrition guidelines and food groupings in 1894. The number of food groups has varied throughout history, ranging from four food groups to twelve. However, most guidelines recommend a minimum number of foods from each of the primary food groups.
To achieve a healthy diet, the Eatwell Guide suggests five food groups, namely
- fruit and vegetables
- potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy carbohydrates
- beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins
- dairy and alternatives
- oils and spreads