The New Food Pyramid

Food Pyramid

The old food pyramid from the USDA, of our federal government, emphasized different food groups but seemed to do very little to discourage consumption of large amounts of carbohydrates and breads. For example, the old food pyramid recommended 6-11 servings in the bread group and did little to distinguish whole grains from processed bread products loaded with carbohydrates and calories. With so many Americans, both adults and kids, vastly overweight, the food pyramid was clearly out of date and needed a change.

The new food pyramid emphasizes actual amounts in each serving as measured in ounces or cups rather than the nebulous "serving." Under the old pyramid, most people probably interpreted a serving as the amount they might consume at a meal. So 11 servings of bread seems pretty ridiculous in that context. The new more specific food pyramid describes 6 ounces of grains and emphasizes that half of all the grains consumed should be whole grains.

The most striking difference about the new food pyramid is the emphasis on exercise. On the side of the pyramid is a staircase with a figure climbing the stairs. A caption indicates that adults should be active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week, and that children need to be active for at least 60 minutes most days of the week, and 60-90 minutes of daily physical activity may be needed to prevent weight gain or to sustain weight loss.

The recommended nutrient intake at 12 different calorie levels are also described. You can read through these at The new food pyramid also represents some real enlightenment when it comes to the emphasis on a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, lean meats and beans. And there are recommendations to reduce saturated fats, trans fats and added sugar.

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