Here are the government's dietary recommendations.
The Food Pyramid, published by the USDA, is quite familiar to most of us. It's printed on the side of most cereal boxes and something we hear a lot about in the news. It's the government's recommendation to the general public for eating healthy and living an active life. The pyramid underwent a dramatic change last year, due to changes in the American diet and updated research regarding what people need and should be eating. The pyramid now has an improved site (MyPyramid.gov) increased standards and a more balanced diet approach. There is even a site dedicated to Spanish-speaking people and a MyPyramid for kids.
The Food Pyramid, a product of the USDA, can trace its roots all the way back to the late 1800s. However, a more familiar pyramid was the result of rationing during WWII and ensuring the American people were getting the nutrients they needed. You're probably most familiar with the version created in the 1970s. As things tend to do, that food pyramid became obsolete. In an effort to reflect newer research about eating and nutritional needs, the government released a new pyramid in 2005. The stacked layers are gone and a more balanced lateral display make it easier to understand, as well as obvious color coding for each food group. The new Food Pyramid now incorporates exercise and replaces blanket nutritional statements with more customized information.
Unlike a lot of plans, the Food Pyramid is a constant evolution, reflecting the most current information available from nutritional sciences. More than ever, the Food Pyramid, or MyPyramid, is relevant to everyone- customizing the Pyramid to reflect all ages, sexes and even level of activity.
- Thorough website that is easy to use
- Customizable plan
- Stresses the importance of exercise
- Online profile to track progress and gain more information
- It's free
- Site available in Spanish; kid-friendly version
- Healthy daily caloric intake
It's true that everyone has a critic and the Food Pyramid is no different. The Pyramid has been scrutinized for not remaining current, offering uniform information and providing misleading information. The USDA defends that the newest Food Pyramid has corrected these mistakes. While the new Pyramid allows for some customization of the plan, it still makes general assumptions about diet and does not provide any specific guidance for people with diabetes, heart disease or other illnesses.
- Does not offer menus or recipes
- Does not offer community or message boards
- No specific instruction for exercise
There are not any specific recipes available. One of the most encouraging things about the new Pyramid is that it's customizable. At a very general level, the Pyramid recommends a balance of these food groups:
- Whole grains - at least 3oz./day. Sources can be bread, cereal, rice and pasta.
- Vegetables - eat plenty of dark green and orange veggies, as well as dry beans and peas.
- Fruit - greater emphasis on eating all varieties of fruit; avoid fruit juices as they usually contain too much sugar.
- Oils - lean fats, primarily from fish and nuts, are important; avoid solid fats like butter and shortening.
- Dairy - get plenty of calcium from low- or no-fat milk, cheese, yogurt and other products.
- Protein - eat low-fat and lean poultry, fish, meat and legumes.
The MyPyramid plan is customizable to your individual diet and exercise behavior. The MyPyramid site allows you to enter your stats to receive a plan that's best for your lifestyle. For instance, a 40-year female, weighing 150 pounds, 5'5" and currently getting less than 30 minutes/day of exercise would be advised to partake in at least a half hour of physical activity at a moderate level each day.CONCLUSION
The MyPyramid Plan is likely one of the most balanced, unbiased healthy lifestyle programs available. No one is after your pocket book. It's just a clearly defined guide for optimal eating and exercise. MyPyramid relies on current scientific research to provide the U.S. public with accurate, relevant information.Common Misspellings
My Pyramid, Food Piramyd, FoodPyramid, Food Pyramid Diet, Pyramid Deit