One Size Doesn't Fit All
The 2005 USDA Dietary Guidelines -- the "food pyramid" if you will -- reflects the latest understanding of nutrition. The science behind the new pyramid recognizes that individual needs vary by age and activity level, and the MyPyramid.gov web site will help you determine your specific nutritional needs. Gone are the "eat 6-11 servings from the bread group." Instead, you create a customized food pyramid based on your age, gender, and activity level. For example, the amount of milk recommended varies from two cups per day for children ages 2-8 to three cups per day for everyone else. (See Milk Guidelines.)
The new recommendations cover these four themes:1
- Variety—Eat foods from all food groups and subgroups.
- Proportionality—Eat more of some foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk products), and less of others (foods high in saturated or trans fats, added sugars, cholesterol salt, and alcohol.).
- Moderation—Choose forms of foods that limit intake of saturated or trans fats, added sugars, cholesterol, salt, and alcohol.
- Activity—Be physically active every day.
The New Food Pyramid
The new food pyramid breaks food down into grains, vegetables, fruit, oils, milk, and meat. Within each category are a variety of foods, some better than others. For example, whole grain products are better for you than foods made from highly refined grains. Think rolled oats instead of sugar sweetened cereal for breakfast and you get the idea. This table shows each food pyramid component:
Larger Image | More Information About Grains
Larger Image | More Information About Vegetables
Larger Image | More Information About Fruits
Larger Image | More Information About Oils
Larger Image | More Information About Milk
Larger Image | More Information About Meat
For Additional Information
- MyPyramid.gov is the new US Department of Agriculture web site about the food guide
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005.
- The USDA Adult Energy Needs and BMI Calculator also estimates your daily calorie intake to maintain weight, which can help you in your meal planning.
Information About the Old Food Guide Pyramid
- The Food Pyramid-Food Label Connection
- KidsHealth includes an animated food guide pyramid with explanations of each food group.
- Rebuilding the Food Pyramid, published in the January 2003 issue of Scientific American, offers a thought-provoking reassessment of the FDA food guide pyramid and suggests a radical change in the foods we eat.
- Image of the old Food Guide Pyramid
Updated April 20, 2005
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