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Food guide pyramid

 

Definition

The food guide pyramid is designed to help people make healthy food choices.

Alternative Names

MyPyramid

Information

In response to rising obesity rates, the United States Department of Agriculture introduced on April 19, 2005 a revised food guide pyramid called "MyPyramid." The new guide, which replaces the pyramid introduced in 1992, encourages consumers to choose foods geared to their specific calorie needs and adds a new category: regular exercise. The updated symbol includes a picture of a stick figure walking up a set of steps to emphasize physical activity.

Food groups are arranged vertically, instead of horizontally like the older model, and are represented by six different colors:

  • Orange - grains
  • Green - vegetables
  • Red - fruits
  • Yellow - oils
  • Blue - milk products
  • Purple - meats and beans

Foods from each group should be eaten daily. The wider the food group band, the more of that product you should eat, although the widths are a general guide to portion size, not an exact recommendation.

Unlike the old pyramid, which presented its recommendations in servings, the new guide uses terms such as cups and ounces. The guidelines suggest that an average person should eat 3 ounces of whole grain products, 2 cups of fruit, and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables every day. Oils should be used sparingly.

For more information on MyPyramid, visit www.mypyramid.gov.

See also: Balanced diet

References

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005. 6th ed. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 2005.

Nicklas TA. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee: Developing a key message. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005;105:1418-1424.


Review Date: 8/2/2009
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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