The Pros and Cons of Using the Food Pyramid
Article by Anu Morgan
Some years ago a food pyramid was created by the USDA to describe an individual’s daily dietary needs and most people accepted this information as it was presented. However there are some reasons to consider the pros and the cons of using this food pyramid in this way.
Using the food pyramid, many people understood the importance of having certain foods that they perhaps had dismissed before. Eating from all those food groups is important in order to be healthy overall. Certainly no one would argue that fact. But one thing that has become a problem from this thinking is the number of calories that is recommended for many to have on a daily basis.
Recently the USDA revised their food pyramid and made some changes, mostly because of the recommendations they received from doctors, nutritionists, and others.
The old food pyramid had just four food groups whereas the new pyramid has five. And this new pyramid takes into account such factors as your age, your weight, your gender, and other health concerns you may have. There is also advice about limiting the amount of food taken in when it comes to different groups as well as advice about certain health concerns that are connected to overeating. And the new food pyramid is color coded, something that makes it more appealing to children.
And the new pyramid takes a more individual approach to one’s choices about dietary needs. Let’s take a look at those groups and see if we can’t understand them a bit better.
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The group that includes grains, meaning bread, cereal, rice, and pasta is still on the bottom of the pyramid. These are called dietary staples or the foundation of one’s diet. Vegetables and fruits make up the next two groups and this group did not change much. Then there is the level for meat which includes beef, poultry, fish, legumes (beans) and eggs. After that is the dairy group which includes cheese, yogurt, and milk and these groups are where some changes have been suggested.
The information that is now included, about one’s number of calories taken in depending upon your level of exercise and other lifestyle circumstances, is something that’s different. There are also recipes included with this pyramid, as well as suggestions for food substitutions and considerations for selecting certain foods. This new guide seems to emphasize an individual approach to one’s diet and this is commendable.
Many of these changes have been brought about because of the health problems that many people face today. It’s necessary to make changes and decisions based on your gender, age, lifestyle, and so on; this is a reason for these different recommendations. These were borne out because of recommendations from many different research entities in the country. So of course your health is an individual matter and you should approach it from an individual perspective. The food pyramid can and should be used as a guide but nothing more than a guide. You then need to make up your own personal plan of eating which will fit you.
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Learn about the food pyramid and food groups