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Food Pyramid

The food pyramid was a type of nutritional chart created by the US government's Department of Agriculture in 1992. The food pyramid gave general dietary advice as to what kinds of food people should eat to maintain a healthy diet, as well as how much of each type of food they should eat.  In April of 2005 the USDA announced a newer version of the food pyramid dubbed "MyPyramid."?

MyPyramid is a food pyramid that sets recommendations, adds exercise, and is supposed to clarify food quantities in its advice. The new food pyramid also focuses on moderation in eating and includes a new interest on promoting variety in diets.

The new food pyramid was created after the Dietary Guidelines for Americans was released in January of 2005. The book-length document produced by the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services outlines what is now the officially recommended federal nutritional policy.

MyPyramid is broken into eight different divisions including six different food groups.  Grains are included and it is now suggested that over half of consumed grains be made of whole grains. There is a new emphasis on dark green and orange colored vegetables, as well as dry beans and peas. The newer version of the food pyramid also stresses a variety of fresh fruits and recommends limiting intake of fruit juices. The category called oils recommends getting oils from fishes, nuts, and vegetable sources. The milk category also includes other dairy products. The meat and beans category puts particular focus on lean meats such as fish, and also advises eating more beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.

Two new categories are physical activity and discretionary calories. Physical activity is recommended for at least 30 minutes a day. Discretionary calories are those calories that should be limited the most such as those from candy, alcohol, or other un-nutritional foods.
A new aspect of the food pyramid is its personalization components, accessible through the government's MyPyramid website. The website features a gradual improvement plan that individuals can undergo online, and through their own unique sets of circumstances.  The site talks at length on emphasizing gradual improvements in people's diets and lifestyles that can eventually become the norm in their lives.

The new food pyramid's bands also signal which foods should be eaten the most and which the least, according to the bands' differing widths. The food pyramid is meant to be a guide to a person's daily caloric input.
The original food pyramid was seen as confusing in federal studies, prompting officials to consider reworking it into its current state. The new version of the food pyramid recommends food in a more specific serving size, while the old one was typically more vague about how much food a person should consume. 

MyPyramid comes at a time when Americans are gaining more weight and living unhealthy lifestyles than any other time in the country's history.