How do the Xyris food groups fit with the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating?

The Xyris food groups are broadly compatible with the five food groups (and additional categories) of the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (AGHE). However, there are important differences.

Discretionary choices and food components

In the Xyris food groups, some food components are treated as ‘groups’ in their own right, namely:

  • Oil equivalents (fats naturally occurring in nuts, seeds, avocado, seafoods, and unhydrogenated vegetable oils; excludes palm oil and coconut oil)
  • Solid fat equivalents (fats naturally occurring in meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, fully or partially hydrogenated oils, shortening, palm oil and coconut oil)
  • Added sugars
  • Alcoholic drinks

As a result, the ‘discretionary choices’ category used in the AGHE is not used in the Xyris groups.

Instead, all composite foods, including those that would be discretionary items (e.g. pizzas, pastries, commercial burgers), are broken into their ingredients/components and assigned to 'groups' accordingly.

The resulting analysis exposes serves of solid fat equivalents, added sugars, refined grains, etc. For example, a meat pie which would be considered a discretionary choice in the AGHE, in the Xyris system would instead contribute serves of meat, refined grains, solid fats, and so on.

The approach used is similar to that in the USDA Food Patterns Equivalents Database

Other differences

Serve sizes for the food groups are similar to those in the AGHE, but not the same - see What are the serve sizes for the Xyris food groups?

More minor differences to the AGHE include:

  • The fruit group includes fruit juice.
  • The grains group is split into two:
    • Refined grains
    • Whole grains

How the AGHE and the Xyris food groups correspond

The table below shows how the Xyris food groups correspond to the 5 food groups and its additional categories of AGHE.


The 5 food groups

Vegetables and legumes/beans Vegetables
Fruit Fruit
Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties   Grains
Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans Protein foods
Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives, mostly reduced fat Dairy

 Additional categories

Discretionary choices

These foods are resolved to their constituent food groups, plus these food components:

  • Oil equivalents
  • Solid fat equivalents
  • Added sugars
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Water
NOTE: Sodium can also be viewed (as a nutrient, not a food group)
-- Alcoholic drinks
Unsaturated spreads and oils Oil equivalents
-- Solid fat equivalents
-- Added sugars
Water Water


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