Healthy Food Pyramid Definition
Source : Google.com.pk
The Healthy Living Pyramid
Please note, the Healthy Living Pyramid is due to be reviewed following release of the revised Australian Dietary Guidelines in 2013.
The Healthy Living Pyramid (HLP) was developed to provide a simple guide to planning the types of foods we should eat and in what proportions different foods should be consumed. The pyramid represents food from the core food groups only. That is, it shows meat, fish, chicken, eggs, nuts, bread, cereals, vegetables, legumes, fruit, milk, etc. We all know though that during meals we do not eat core food groups alone - we combine several of them together to create a meal. For example, we mix meat with vegetables to make a stew or casserole, eggs with milk and sugar to make custard or flour with oil, cheese, vegetables and meat to make a pizza. Although the pyramid can’t show all possible food combinations, mixing foods and adding herbs and spices to create appealing flavours can help us enjoy foods in the variety needed whilst keeping to the proportions outlined in the Pyramid
The Healthy Living Pyramid encourages food variety and a diet of minimum fat, adequate fibre, limited salt and sufficient water that is balanced with physical activity. The ‘Move More' base of the Pyramid shows moving legs to remind us that physical activity is an essential part of the energy balance equation that should be combined with healthy eating.
very time we move we use up some of the kilojoules (or calories) that are in the food that we eat. The kilojoules that we do not use up will be stored and changed to fat. ‘Move more’ reminds us that we need to balance the energy (kilojoules) that we take in with the energy we use. We eat daily so we need to be active daily.
This base layer of food includes only plant foods: vegetables, fruits, nuts, dried peas, beans and lentils, breads and cereals (preferably wholegrain). These foods contain many different nutrients and should make up the bulk of the food we eat. Eating a variety of these foods each day should provide good amounts of energy from carbohydrate, as well as protein, minerals, vitamins and dietary fibre. In other words these foods are nutrient dense (each food contains a lot of nutrients for each kilojoule that it provides).
Alongside the base, the symbol of a running tap is present to encourage water consumption. Six to eight glasses each day is the recommendation. Smaller children need about 4-5 glasses of water daily.
Foods in the middle of the Pyramid include fish, lean meat, eggs, chicken (no skin), milk, cheese and yoghurt. Eating a serving of meat, fish or eggs and three servings of dairy foods each day will provide protein, minerals (especially iron and calcium) and B vitamins.
Eat in Small Amounts
Sugars and fats are in this layer. These foods should be limited because they lack a good supply of the nutrients needed for growth, good health and quick energy. While small amounts of fats, oils and sugar are acceptable, larger amounts of these foods will cause an inadequately varied food intake. When choosing fats and oils it is better to choose the ones that have low levels of saturated fat and higher levels of omega -3 fats. The Pyramid also suggests that salt should not be added to foods.
Choosing a wide variety of foods the HLP way, helps us to consume all the nutrients and other food compounds that are needed for good health. When serving a meal, the ‘Eat Most’ foods should take up most of the plate, the ‘Eat Moderately’ foods should take up a third or less of the plate, and there should be very little of the ‘Eat in Small Amounts’ foods present. The HLP does not state how many servings of each food we should have or the serving sizes required, but it does give an idea of the balance of foods we need to choose for good health.
Remember, in order to maintain body weight, food eaten (energy in) always needs to be balanced with physical activity (energy out).
Nutrition Australia encourages all persons, organisations, and groups to apply for permission to use property of the Australian Nutrition Foundation Inc (Nutrition Australia). All requests for permission to use materials should be submitted to Nutrition Australia Victorian Division.
Nearly two decades ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) created a powerful icon: the Food Guide Pyramid. This simple illustration conveyed in a flash what the USDA said were the elements of a healthy diet. The Pyramid was taught in schools, appeared in countless media articles and brochures, and was plastered on cereal boxes and food labels.
Tragically, the information embodied in this pyramid didn’t point the way to healthy eating. Why not? Its blueprint was based on shaky scientific evidence, and it barely changed over the years to reflect major advances in our understanding of the connection between diet and health.
The USDA retired the Food Guide Pyramid in 2005 and replaced it with MyPyramid—basically the old Pyramid turned on its side, sans any explanatory text. Critics lambasted the symbol from the get-go for being vague and confusing. So in June 2011, with great fanfare, the USDA replaced its much-maligned MyPyramid with a new simpler food icon, the fruit-and-vegetable rich MyPlate.
The good news is that these changes have dismantled and buried the original, flawed Food Guide Pyramid and its underwhelming MyPyramid successor. The bad news is that the new MyPlate icon, while an improvement over the Food Guide Pyramid and MyPyramid, still falls short on giving people the nutrition advice they need to choose the healthiest diets.
As an alternative to the USDA’s nutrition advice, faculty members at the Harvard School of Public Health built the Healthy Eating Pyramid. It resembles the USDA’s old pyramids in shape only. The Healthy Eating Pyramid takes into consideration, and puts into perspective, the wealth of research conducted during the last 20 years that has reshaped the definition of healthy eating.
Now it’s time to translate that research to your dinner plate: the Healthy Eating Plate. Just as the Healthy Eating Pyramid rectifies the mistakes of the USDA’s food pyramids, the Healthy Eating Plate fixes the flaws in USDA’s MyPlate. Both the Healthy Eating Pyramid and the Healthy Eating Plate are based on the latest science about how our food, drink, and activity choices affect our health.
Building MyPyramid and MyPlate
In the children’s book Who Built the Pyramid?, (1) different people take credit for building the once-grand Egyptian pyramid of Senwosret. King Senwosret, of course, claims the honor. But so does his architect, the quarry master, the stonecutters, slaves, and the boys who carried water to the workers.
The USDA’s pyramids and MyPlate also had many builders. Some are obvious—USDA scientists, nutrition experts, staff members, and consultants. Others aren’t. Intense lobbying efforts from a variety of food industries also helped shape the pyramid and the plate.
In theory, the USDA’s food icons should reflect the nutrition advice assembled in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. According to the USDA, the guidelines “provide authoritative advice for people two years and older about how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases.”
This document, which by law must be considered for revision every five years, aims to offer sound nutrition advice that corresponds to the latest scientific research. The government seeks advice from a scientific panel, one that must include nutrition experts who are leaders in pediatrics, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and public health. Selecting the panelists is no easy task, and is subject to intense lobbying from organizations such as the National Dairy Council, the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, the Soft Drink Association, the American Meat Institute, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Salt Institute, and the Wheat Foods Council. (2)
The scientific panel generates a report of 400 or so pages of dense nutrition-speak. The USDA and US Department of Health and Human Services use this report to prepare the 100-page Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The process, however, is less than transparent. And the folks who actually write the final guidelines don’t always hew to the scientific panel’s recommendations.
The hefty Dietary Guidelines for Americans document is translated into a reader-friendly brochure aimed at helping the average person choose a balanced and healthy diet. Of far greater importance, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans set the standards for all federal nutrition programs, including the school lunch program, and help determine what food products Americans buy. In other words, the guidelines influence how billions of dollars are spent each year. So even minor changes can hurt or help a food industry and can also have a substantial impact on the health of Americans.
Dietary Guidelines in the 21st Century: Progress, Not Perfection
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans evolve with each new version. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 continues this trend of routine updates. (3) It also continues to reflect the tense interplay of science and the powerful food industry.
Several of the recommendations in the current version represent important steps in the right direction:
Move to a plant-based diet. The guidelines emphasize eating more foods from plants, such as vegetables and beans, whole grains, and nuts.
Choose fish twice a week. They encourage Americans to eat more seafood in place of red meat or poultry, acknowledging its special benefits for the heart.
Not all proteins are equally healthy. They recognize that some protein-rich foods, such as meat, poultry, and eggs, are higher in so-called “solid fats”—the saturated and trans fats that Americans need to cut back on—and recommend replacing them with fish and nuts, or choosing leaner forms of protein.
Other recommendations do not go far enough to reflect the latest nutrition science—or bury key messages:
Too lax on refined grains. The guidelines say that it’s okay to eat up to half of our bread, cereal, rice, pasta, and other grain foods in their fiber- and nutrient-depleted, refined forms. That’s unfortunate, because in the body, refined grains like white bread and white rice act just like sugar. Over time, eating too much of these refined grain foods can make it harder to control weight, and can raise the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Too lenient on red meat and processed meat. High intakes of red meat, such as beef, pork, and lamb, are associated with a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer. (4-6) Yet nowhere in the guidelines does it say to limit red meat. The guidelines also don’t give adequate warning about the hazards of processed meats, such as bacon and hot dogs, which are even more strongly linked to heart disease and diabetes.
Too much dairy. The guidelines’ recommendation to increase the intake of low-fat milk and dairy products seems to reflect the interests of the powerful dairy industry more so than the latest science. There is little, if any, evidence that eating dairy prevents osteoporosis or fractures, and there is considerable evidence that high dairy product consumption is associated with increased risk of fatal prostate and maybe ovarian cancers. (Read more about calcium, milk and health.)
If the only goal of the USDA’s food icons is to give us the best possible advice for healthy eating, then they should be grounded in the evidence and be independent of commercial interests.
Instead of waiting for this to happen, nutrition experts from the Harvard School of Public Health created the Healthy Eating Pyramid, and updated it in 2008. And in September 2011, working with colleagues at Harvard Health Publications, they created the Healthy Eating Plate.
The Healthy Eating Pyramid and the Healthy Eating Plate are based on the best available scientific evidence about the links between diet and health. They fix fundamental flaws in the USDA food pyramids and plate and offer sound information to help people make better choices about what to eat. (View a large PDF image of the Healthy Eating Pyramid, in a separate window; view a large PDF image of the Healthy Eating Plate, in a separate window.)If the only goal of the USDA’s food icons is to give us the best possible advice for healthy eating, then they should be grounded in the evidence and be independent of commercial interests.