The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) introduced a new food pyramid in 2005. The new version, “My Pyramid, Steps to a Healthier You,” is designed to be more flexible, while also providing more accurate nutritional guidelines, than its predecessor. The newer pyramid has six colored ribbons that go up and down the pyramid showing five food groups plus oils. It also shows a figure walking up a set of stairs, meant to depict exercise
The USDA’s new food pyramid replaces the one put in place in 1992. The older version was designed with food groups laid out horizontally. It focused mainly on foods near the bottom of the pyramid with fewer foods eaten from layers near the top. It gave little flexibility for different needs and less interaction online. The new food guide pyramid was designed nased date information on nutrition and also have several versions to better address needs based on activity level, gender and age.
Food Groups Represented
The new pyramid has colored vertical bands representing five major food groups: orange for grains, green for vegetables, red for fruits, blue for milk and purple for meat and legumes (beans). Besides representing a narrow yellow band oils. USDA notes that the milk group includes only foods made from milk that retain their calcium content in treatment. The meat and beans group includes meat, poultry, fish, dry beans or peas, eggs, nuts and seeds. Oils contains only low-saturated liquid fat.
One of the biggest changes in the new pyramid is the ability to use the USDA website, www. MyPyramid. gov, to tailor their eating recommendations to the individual’s activity level, age and gender. For example, recommendations for someone following a 2,000-calorie daily intake be 7oz. Grain, 3 c. of vegetables, 2 c. of fruit, 3 c. milk, 6 oz. of meat and beans, and 6 teaspoons. oils, in addition to 290 discretionary calories.
In addition to dietary recommendations, the new pyramid was designed to convey a number of messages. The walking figure represents the importance of daily activity. The narrowing of the food bands as they near the top of the pyramid reminds us that within each group, there are more nutritious choices and those that should be eaten sparingly. Proportionality is to suggest how much food a person should eat from each food group displays of varying widths of the food group bands. The need to eat a variety of foods from all five food groups are illustrated through the use of different colors.
While USDA has sought to improve the original food pyramid, the new interactive design of the revised pyramid means information is not so easy in the illustration alone. Users should be aware that they need to consult tables and consider appropriate daily calorie intake based on activity level, age and gender to customize recommendations. A separate version of the pyramid are available for children, infants and mothers who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
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