A Guide To The Food Pyramid

Introduction And Background
When we are little, in the earlier classes, we learn something in school from our teacher which is referred to as the ‘food pyramid’. In fact, it is one of the first things taught to us to teach us better about our diet and what we should be having at homes and bringing to lunch for school. The food pyramid is a very well-known concept and one that stays with us throughout our lifetime. However, we are only taught the basics in the earlier grades and the concept soon becomes history unless we take a subject such as food and nutrition or something to do with nutrition. In this article, you will learn more about the food pyramid, getting proper guidance and understanding the concept.

The Shape
Believe it or not, the shape of the food pyramid will help you to remember exactly what lies where. It was first published in the country Sweden in the year of 1974. It is not a concept that is very old, about only four decades. The generation born before that might not be aware of it but it is mentioned quite a few places and what’s more, every parent should be aware of it and should teach it to their child. Without the shape, you will only think of it as a simple flowchart and might even forget it easily. The shape is, as the name suggests, a pyramid. From the bottom to the top, different nutritional elements are outlined according to their importance. Different pyramids have different requirements but the standard one that is published most places is the one where the protein is on the top and in lesser amounts, leaving the carbohydrates at the bottom in high amounts.

Contents Of The Food Pyramid
The food pyramid has changed throughout the years, with more information now available and with new research available, things with food and nutrition also change with time. Nowadays, little detail is added to the food pyramid to make it easier to study and read as people will give it a single look and if they don’t understand it in that, they won’t bother looking at it again. It used to be a lot complicated before but it has become fairly easy now. A simplified version of the food pyramid, which is the standard used by the WHO, has the proteins content at the top, the fat in the middle and the carbohydrates at the bottom, outlining the importance from top to bottom as well as hinting at the quantity each nutrient needs to be taken in. We all know that proteins are important, hence their place at the top. But we also know that we only need to take a little of protein to fulfill the daily requirement. And if you can remember the shape of a pyramid, there is lesser area at the top and more at the bottom. The carbohydrates are probably the least important but should be taken in high amounts since they provide energy that the body needs. The fats are in the middle, taken in amounts more than protein but lesser than carbs and their importance too is in the same manner. The food pyramid does not acknowledge smaller elements such as vitamins and minerals.

A Newer Guideline To The Food Pyramid
The new guideline is a little more complicated but definitely one that you should be aware of.

  • Grain Group – You need to take grains, whether they are whole grains or any other sort, daily. About six ounces are a requirement.
  • Vegetable Group – This is an important one. Have green, leafy vegetables of about 2.5 cups for a daily dose.
  • Fruit Group – You should have a variety of fruits, especially the ones that are in season. 2 cups are good enough to fulfill the daily requirement according to the food pyramid guidelines.
  • Milk Group – You need to have about 3 cups of the milk group, be it actual milk, in the form of cheese or as yoghurt. The choice is yours.
  • Meat – Chicken, fish, beef, any sort of meat is probably the most important meal you will have in the day. 5.5 ounces are a must for the day. If you want to exceed that, it is okay too.
  • Oil – Only six teaspoons are the daily requirement!

As you can clearly see, even in the guidelines, it all comes back to the three basic nutritional elements by the name of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. They are the representatives of the food pyramid and are quite important to have daily. If you ever notice the food pyramid, some of them even have food examples of these three nutrients in their places. You might even see eggs and fish in the protein area or bread and rice in the carbohydrate one!