Q:

What is the food pyramid?

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Quick Answer

The food pyramid is a diagram that illustrates a healthy diet by organizing foods into groups based on recommended serving sizes, according to the Santa Clara University Wellness Center. The pyramid is divided into tiers, and foods with the least nutritional value, such as sweets, are at the top. Foods that should make up the largest portion of daily calories, such as breads, are displayed on the wide bottom tier.

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Full Answer

A balanced daily diet includes six to 11 servings of grains and pasta; two to four servings of fruit; three to five servings of veggies; two to three servings of meat, legumes and fish; two to three servings of dairy products; and as few servings as possible of sweet or fatty foods, according to the SCU Wellness Center. The serving sizes reflect the essential nutrients each group offers. For example, the carbohydrates in grains provide glucose to fuel the body, and the meat and dairy groups are important protein sources.

The classic food pyramid was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture until 2005, when it was re-envisioned as MyPyramid, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. The updated diagram organized the food groups horizontally across the pyramid using color-coded sections. MyPyramid didn't contain any descriptive text and was considered too abstract for the public to understand. In 2011, the USDA unveiled a new food guide known as the Healthy Eating Plate. The diagram is similar to a pie chart, providing a visual representation of how much fruit, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy products each meal should include.

Learn more about Nutritional Amounts & Limits

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why do we need food to survive?

    A:

    Cells, the tiny units that make up the human body, need a regular source of energy to perform their basic functions, and they receive this energy from digested food. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the nutrients stored in food also provide the materials that cells need to create new cells and molecules.

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  • Q:

    What is a simple food pyramid for kids?

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    The Nutrition Source at Harvard School of Public Health recommends the shape of a food plate opposed to a food pyramid. The USDA replaced its 2005 MyPyramid with a 2011 MyPlate model. The plate contains four sections, for protein, grains, fruit and vegetables, and a small side circle of dairy.

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  • Q:

    Where do potatoes fit in the food pyramid?

    A:

    Potatoes fit into the vegetable section on the food pyramid. More specifically, potatoes belong to the sub-category of starchy vegetables. Other members of the starchy vegetable group are corn, lima beans, water chestnuts and black-eyed peas.

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  • Q:

    Why did they change the food pyramid?

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    The food pyramid was resoundingly criticized from inception for promoting consumption of huge amounts of grain and discouraging consumption of good fats, says the Washington Post. An early attempt to revise the pyramid in 2005 was declared impossible to understand, says the Huffington Post. The My Plate graphic was released in 2010 as a response.

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