The food pyramid is a graphic designed to indicate in a simple way what foods are necessary to include in the diet, and to what extent to consume them, to achieve a healthy and balanced diet. This pyramid includes all the food groups, without trying to restrict any. It simply indicates in a simple way how much to consume from each of these groups in order to maintain good health. The food pyramid is thus a graph of healthy eating tips.
In 2005, the secretary of agriculture of the United States, Mike Johanns, in a press conference presented a new food pyramid, in addition to controversy, called “My Pyramid” which is rather personalized and includes other elements; we will review it at the end of the article. First, let’s start with the traditional graph:
Levels of the Food Pyramid
The food pyramid is divided into four levels, with the first levels, those that appear from the base of the pyramid, the foods that can be consumed daily in greater quantity. Therefore, as we increase in level, the consumption of this group of foods is increasingly restricted.
All those foods derived from grains are found in the first level of the pyramid. These are those that have high concentrations of carbohydrates and are, for example, pasta, rice, bread, and cereals. Experts recommend that we should consume these products unrefined, as they have more nutritional value.
The second level of food pyramid includes fruits and vegetables, which have a lot of fiber, as well as high concentrations of vitamins and minerals. In general, it is recommended to consume between 3 and 5 servings of vegetables and between 2 and 4 of fruits a day.
The third level of the food pyramid is divided into two. One group includes dairy products and the other, meat and legumes, and must include in the daily diet between 2 and 3 servings of the foods included in each of these food groups.
Finally, the fourth level is one that includes those foods that we must take care of more. Among them are oils and fats, including desserts, sweets, creams, and soft drinks. Its greatest restriction is due to the high percentage of fats and calories that these foods have. We should consume this group of foods with extreme moderation.
The New Food Pyramid
Returning to the theme of the new food pyramid, this presents the graph of feeding in descending bands. Instead of using the traditional horizontal stripes, it arranges the foods by colors (we will indicate the color, and a reference value since the model is personalized): Orange – cereals, pasta, bread and rice (180 grams daily), green – vegetables and greens (2 and a half cups), red – fruits (2 cups a day with as much variety as possible), yellow – fats , oils and sweets (with extreme moderation), blue – dairy (3 cups daily, hopefully, skimmed), and purple – legumes, meat and fish (155 grams approx.).
In addition, the text that accompanies this new pyramid privileges the intake of fish, nuts and vegetable oils, while seeking to limit the intake of butter, margarine, animal fats, as well as salt and sugar. Another novelty is the exercise, which recommends a practice for 30 minutes a day. But there is controversy with this new version. The fact that the levels of obesity have only increased in the US, among other reasons, which has led to the fact that the model has not been approved or adopted anywhere in the world.
Anyway, regardless of the food pyramid model that is used, this gives a clear vision of the priorities to have to effectively guide our daily diet, in such a way to promote our health and that of those around us.