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The Evolution of the Food Pyramid

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The Food Pyramid as we know it is a graphic representation of healthy and balanced eating.  It is established in 1992 by the Center for Nutrition Policy of the United States’ Department of Agriculture.  Because the science of nutrition and dietetics is constantly growing due to continuing research, the Food Pyramid is updated every 5 years to keep up with the growing body of new findings in the field of nutrition.

The Food Pyramid has actually been replaced already by MyPyramid in 2005.  More than just changing names, the switch is due to some stark changes.  The following improvements should prove note-worthy.

Exercise Figured In

 The old Food Pyramid took into account nutrition alone, without any reference to exercise.  MyPyramid, on the other hand, advocates the integration of exercise into the overall regimen for health.  This can be seen in the form of a figure climbing up the stairs along the side of the MyPyramid chart.

Carbohydrates Redefined

Another difference between the two pyramids is that whereas the old Food Pyramid featured a horizontal stack of the food groups, the new MyPyramid has vertical strips of food.  This is in accordance with the emphasis on fruits and vegetables, rather than just grains, as additional sources of carbohydrates.

Food Groups Diversified

Whereas the old Food Pyramid showed only few food groups—the Go, Grow and Glow foods--MyPyramid diversified the food groups into many categories such as grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, protein and restrictionary calorie food groups.

Protein Foods Specified

Protein foods were simply lumped together as “meats” in the outdated Food Pyramid.   In MyPyramid, legumes were moved from the vegetable section to the protein foods section.

Slogans Sneaked In

The updated MyPyramid has succinct, easy-to-remember slogans which drive home a powerful message regarding each food group.  About grains, for instance, the slogan is “Make half of your grains whole.”  And with regards to protein, there is the advise to “Go lean with protein.”  Regarding fruits and vegetables, it declares “5 colors a day.”

Serving Sizes Clarified

A convenient feature of MyPyramid is that the dietary recommendations are based on very familiar serving sizes rather than on weights or caloric counts of food.  For instance, fruit and vegetable servings are in terms of cups, bread servings are in terms of the number of slices and oil servings are in terms of teaspoons.



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