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    • cal18-August-2022 adminTarishi Shrivastava

      The Food Pyramid, A Guide To A Balanced Diet

    • With the proper insight on eating healthy, every bite becomes a part of a balanced diet. Following the pyramids is one of the best ways to improve food habits. We are not taking you to Egypt; here, we are talking about the levels of the “Food Pyramid.” 

      The food pyramid was initially designed to make healthy eating easier, displaying the food groups and how much you need to consume to have a healthy diet. 

      Eating the right amount from each food group is known to have a Balanced Diet.

      It is said that the key to a healthy life resides in following the “Healthy Eating Food Pyramid.”

      Table of Contents

      1. What Is Food Pyramid?

      2. Food Serving Size

      3. Purpose Of Food Group

      4. Importance Of The Food Pyramid

      5. Eat The Right Food

      6. Dietician’s Recommendation

      7. The Final Say

      8. FAQs

      What Is Food Pyramid?

      Learning about the “Food Guide Pyramid” is a simple way of knowing what food one needs to consume and the amount to ensure good health. ICMR suggests the food pyramid. It is based on the principle of a balanced diet. This pyramid also indicates that one must exercise regularly and abstain from drinking alcohol and tobacco.

      The Food Guide Pyramid lists the foods and serving amounts we need to consume daily to stay healthy. The nutrition placement in the pyramid reflects that it is significant to human health. 

      It guides you to make better dietary suggestions like; 

      • Cover the primary nutritional source, and add grains.
      • Increase the number of veggies and fruits.
      • Decrease the consumption of meat, fish, egg, milk, and moderate alternatives.
      • Less use of salt, fat/oil and sugar in your diet. 
      • Cut off meat fat before you cook it. 
      • Opt for steaming, stewing, simmering, boiling, scalding or cooking with non-stick frying pans. 
      • Exclude frying and deep-frying from your food preparation methods. 

      Five Food Groups Of The Food Pyramid

      1. Fruits

      2. Vegetables

      3. Grains

      4. Protein foods

      5. Dairy products 

       

      Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020 emphasise a comprehensively balanced eating pattern that uses all five food groups as essential building blocks and oils. Oils are stressed as a component of a healthy diet. Each food group contributes significantly to a general healthy eating pattern and contains a variety of foods with similar nutritional profiles like;

      • Grains
      • Vegetables and fruits
      • Meat, egg, fish.
      • Dry beans and milk.
      • Salt, sugar and fat/oil
      • Fluids (including water, tea, clear soup, etc.)

      Healthy Eating Food Pyramid For Adults

      • Grains: 3-8 bowls
      • Vegetables: at least three servings
      • Fruits: at least two servings
      • Meat, fish, egg and alternatives: 187-300gm
      • Milk and alternatives: 1-2 servings
      • Salt, sugar and Fat/ oil: eat the least
      • Fluid: 6-8 glasses

      Healthy Eating Food Pyramid For Elderly

      • Grains: 3-5 bowls
      • Vegetables: at least three servings
      • Fruits: at least two servings
      • Meat, fish, egg and alternatives: 187-225gm
      • Milk and alternatives: 1-2 servings
      • Salt, sugar and Fat/oil: eat the least
      • Fluid: 6-8 glasses

      Food Serving Size

      Here are the serving sizes according to each of the food groups.

      1. Bread, cereal, rice & pasta group (6-11 servings a day is recommended)

      2. Fruit group (2-4 servings a day is recommended)

      3. Vegetable group (3-5 servings a day is recommended)

      4. Milk, yoghurt & cheese group (2-3 servings a day is recommended)

      5. Fish, meat, poultry, dry beans, eggs & nuts group (2-3 servings or 6-9 oz a day is recommended)

      6. Fats, oils & sweets (fats and sweets are high in calories and fat and should be consumed rarely)

      Purpose Of Food Groups

      Food groupings streamline dietary advice by emphasising foods rather than nutrients. Without having to keep track of dozens of different nutrients, people can achieve their nutritional needs by consuming the recommended amounts.

      Importance Of Food Pyramid

      1. Provides Dietary Guidance

      The food pyramid is perfectly divided into a vibrant four-section plate. The main objective of the food pyramid is to make healthy eating easy with a visual representation of what to eat in a certain quantity. It provides a more straightforward approach to illustrating a healthy eating regimen. 

      The goal remains the same: using the five food groups-fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy as a guide to create meals that are nutritious and well-balanced.

      2. Improves Eating Habits

      It is a fact that according to age group people depend on different eating habits, so develop the healthy eating habit and some complete depend of processed food. Following the food pyramid guide makes it easy to choose the right food. 

      Using the five food groups to make a healthy eating regime, filling half your plate with fruits & veggies is an excellent place to start. Instead of refined, choose whole cereals & pulses.

      3. Adds  Variety 

      With its five primary food groups-grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and other proteins like meat, fish, beans, nuts, and eggs, the Food Guide Pyramid stresses the value of a balanced, diversified diet. It emphasises eating a variety of foods every day rather than consuming the majority of your calories from just one or two of the groups.

      The pyramid shape had a tremendous benefit in being straightforward to understand. 

      4. Sets Limits

      The Food Guide Pyramid's suggestion, which pictures fats, oils, and sweets, advises keeping them between 100 and 300 of your daily caloric intake. Some fats, like olive oil, have positive effects on heart health. So the advice to minimise fats and sweets seemed appropriate. Fats are available in visible & invisible forms in seeds & nuts.

      5. Explains With Images

      The Food Guide Pyramid visually shows examples of foods that grab the viewers' attention. Not only healthy food, but it also shows significant sources of essential vitamins and minerals. 

      The healthiest foods are milk, nuts, fish, eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grain bread. Seeing the example of food on each level of what one should eat makes it much easier to adapt a healthy meal and plan it properly by having the proper insight and options. 

      Eat the Right Food

      Our body needs nutrition for good health, and not eating the proper nutrients can lead to deficiencies and malnourishment.  

      Overnutrition and obesity can result when we consume an excessive amount of any type of food. Therefore, we must eat the right amount of food to stay healthy.

      Dietician’s Recommendation

      Pyramids and healthy eating guidelines indicate a healthy diet for the general population. However, we should alter them to match our health, lifestyle, life stage, and tastes. Aim for balanced meals and various foods for optimal health. Physical activity is also essential for leading a balanced life.

      The Final Say

      It is advised to limit the consumption of foods and drinks high in fat, sugar, and salt, as they are harmful. The Healthy Eating Food Pyramid also has other aspects of a healthy lifestyle, such as exercise, weight management, multivitamin supplements, and controlled alcohol consumption. 

      Therefore, this food pyramid is a handy tool assembled by health professionals and health educators to fulfil dietary requirements with good nutrients. People with type 1 & type 2 diabetes, in general, are urged to follow dietary guidelines for a healthy and balanced diet.

      FAQs 

      1. Why is fat in the food pyramid less?

      It is recommended to cut down visible fat, i.e. oil, butter, cheese etc., and include invisible fat in the form of nuts and seeds, which are also rich in omega-3 & omega-6 fatty acids along with vitamins & minerals.

      2. Why only sugar is restricted, whereas sugar & cereal both are rich in carbs?

      Sugar is said to be a simple form of carb, which gives instant energy in the form of calories that will lead to weight gain & cereal is a mixture of both simple & complex carbs.

      3. In which way is the food pyramid used in planning meals?

      The Food Guide Pyramid shows the types and serving sizes of foods we should eat daily to stay healthy. Foods are placed in the pyramid to show how important they are to our health. We should eat more of the foods from the base than the foods at the top.

      4. What is the most crucial aspect of the food pyramid?

      As per the Food Pyramid, individuals can choose foods and beverages from each shelf based on their food preferences. It divides foods and drinks into five main shelves, beginning with an essential frame at the bottom: vegetables, salad, and fruit, at least 5 to 7 servings a day.

      5. Why are bread and cereals placed at the bottom?

      The bottom shelf contains bread, cereal, rice, and pasta with 6-11 servings daily. This food group is the largest and is at the bottom of the pyramid. This group provides complex carbohydrates (starches), which are long chains of sugars, vitamins, minerals, and fibre.

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