The 2010 Food Pyramid

The 2010 Food Pyramid

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released the 2010 Food Pyramid updating the previous government food guide designed in 1992.

The new guide has bands of vertical food groups rather than the old hierarchy of horizontal divisions.

The new pyramid is interactive and takes individual differences into consideration making it much more usable to the general public.

The Six Food Groups

Each of the food groups has its own vertical band on the pyramid. The new guide recommends choosing whole grains when picking from the grain group. The guide divides the group into whole grains and refined grains. Examples of whole grains are whole-wheat flour, brown rice, oatmeal, and bulgur wheat.

The refined grains have been processed to remove the nutritious bran and germ giving the grain a finer texture. Refined grains include white flour, white rice, and degermed cornmeal.

From the vegetable group, the 2010 food pyramid advises choosing more dark green and orange vegetables. Dried beans and peas are now included in the vegetable group as well as with meats.

A variety of fruits are recommended in the diet. They can be eaten as fresh, canned, frozen, dried, or as 100 percent fruit juice. The thinnest band in the pyramid is the oils. The guide recommends getting most of the daily fat from fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. Avoiding solids fats is advised.

The milk group includes milk and other dairy products. Eating low or no-fat dairy is recommended. On the far right of the pyramid is the meat group. This includes meats, eggs, nuts, fish, and dried beans and peas. Eating a variety of protein rich foods and choosing lean meats are the guide’s recommendations.

Interactive Pyramid

The USDA’s website features the 2010 Food Pyramid and a host of valuable information that goes with the guide. Clicking on each color band on the pyramid will give a brief overview of the food groups with a link to much more detailed information and recommendations.

The most beneficial new development in the pyramid is the ability to customize it for each individual’s age, sex, activity level, weight, and height. The individualized plan tells the optimum daily caloric intake and the amount of food recommended from each food group.

The website features menu planners, detailed food facts, and information about gardening, farm markets, and organic foods. Separate recommendations are customizable for pregnant or nursing mothers and for children. Registered users of the website can track their food intake and physical activity.

If you can not eat right to meet the requirements of the food pyramid, you can always take a vitamin supplement to get the vitamins and nutrients you need for the day.

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