What Is the Food Pyramid Now?

Reviewed on 11/3/2020

What Is the Food Pyramid?

The food pyramid released by the USDA is a graphic representation of ratios of different kinds of food necessary for a balanced diet. The contents of the current pyramid is somewhat controversial.
The food pyramid released by the USDA is a graphic representation of ratios of different kinds of food necessary for a balanced diet. The contents of the current pyramid is somewhat controversial.

The food pyramid (MyPyramid) was a graphic representation of how many servings to eat from different food groups. It was introduced by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992 and revised in 2005. 

The foods at the base of the pyramid, the widest part, were foods recommended to make up the largest portion of the diet

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Grains (bread, cereal, rice, and pasta)

As one moved up the pyramid, the recommendations were to consumer fewer portions of these foods:

  • Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
  • Meat, poultry, fish
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Nuts

The top of the pyramid was reserved for foods to be eaten sparingly, such as: 

Many found the food pyramid difficult to translate. For example, it relied on “servings” of food without defining what a “serving” was. It also did not make any distinctions between healthy foods such as brown rice or fish and less healthy foods like white rice or sausage.

The pyramid was also designed to satisfy the agricultural and meat industries who have powerful lobbyists in Washington and who the USDA is tasked with regulating, rather than for optimal health. This is a widespread criticism of the food pyramid in both the popular and scientific press. 

What Is the Food Pyramid Now?

The food pyramid was replaced in 2011 with a food plate: “MyPlate.” 

MyPlate is based on nutrition advice from the government’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It is a graphic representation of plate, quartered into sections, where half the plate is comprised of fruits and vegetables: 

  • Fruits
    • Any fruit or 100% fruit juice 
    • May be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried
    • The amount each person needs can vary between 1 to 2 cups each day
  • Vegetables
    • Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice 
    • May be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated
    • The amount each person needs can vary between 1 to 3 cups each day
  • Grains
    • Foods made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain 
      • Examples include: bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits
    • The amount each person needs can vary between 3 to 8 ounce-equivalents each day
    • Grains are divided into 2 subgroups: 
      • Whole grains
        • At least half the grains consumed should be whole grains
      • Refined grains
  • Protein
    • All foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds 
    • The amount each person needs can vary between 2 to 6½ ounce-equivalents each day

A smaller circle appears next to the plate that represents dairy. 

  • All milk and milk products 
  • Foods made from milk that retain their calcium content are part of the group
  • Foods made from milk that have little to no calcium, such as cream cheese, cream, and butter, are not included
  • Calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage) is also part of the dairy group
  • The amount each person needs can vary between 2 to 3 cups each day

Oils should be consumed in moderation. Avoid trans fats. 

QUESTION

Weight loss occurs in the belly before anywhere else. See Answer

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Reviewed on 11/3/2020
References