The new food pyramid assists people in choosing foods according to their specific caloric needs. New categories as well as regular exercise have been added to the updated pyramid. The new food groups are represented by 6 different colors and are arranged vertically. It is suggested that foods from all food groups should be consumed on a daily basis.
Proposed serving sizes are presented in ounces as well as cups. Under the new guidelines, it recommends that an average person take 2 cups of fruits, 3 ounces of whole grains and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day. It also suggests putting off the use of unhealthy oils (such as unhealthy saturated fats like those found in processed foods) as much as possible.
What are the changes?
- Vegetables and fruits are the foundation.
- The focus of the pyramid is to gain control of weight and exercise.
- The emphasis in choosing good fats like vegetable oils, olives, avocados, and nuts being part of a healthy diet.
- Consuming nuts on a daily basis.
- Butter and red meat limitations
- Use of yogurt, soy milk fortified with calcium or low-fat milk instead of high fat milk
- Limit the high-glycemic foods like soft drinks, chips, and highly refined foods such as baked goods high in trans fatty acids
- The emphasis is on increased consumption of legumes that are rich in soluble fiber and vegetable protein
Compared to the old food pyramid, the new pyramid is more accurate when it comes to age and servings. The old food guide pyramid does not mention the components suitable for each age group. It only gives the general approach while the new pyramid offers further insight into the dosage according to a person and their way of living, exercise, age and the goal which could be to gain or lose weight.
It’s difficult to follow the old pyramid for a lot of people, since there are no clear portions of food to be consumed on a daily basis. This new food pyramid groups food which represents six colors while the servings are clearly indicated. The new food pyramid assists individuals in obtaining an idea of which foods the body needs to consume daily for proper health and nutrition.
If you follow the new guidelines, you will stay healthy for a long time and maintain a healthy weight for life. The new food guide divides foods into five food groups of breads and cereals, fruits, vegetables, protein and dairy. It suggests different dishes representing varying dietary needs for women, men and children. This is more helpful than the old guide which offers no separation for any particular group.
Since health has become a more mainstream issue these days, it is vital that we become more educated in what our dietary needs are as an individual. It is an important step that the USDA has implemented changes to the food pyramid. But, the responsibility is ours to take our health into our own hands and take care of ourselves. We are the ones who lift our hands to our mouths. We are the ones who make the food choices we make. We are the ones who pay the consequences for the bad choices and reap the rewards for the good ones. It is never too late to start a new day of living a healthy lifestyle. Today can be your day.