food pyramid

A food pyramid is a  representation of the proportions of foods that are to be consumed daily in order to achieve optimal health. It aims to make the nutritional advice more accessible to people by making it easier for them to understand and follow. The main purpose is to help a person build up a balanced diet by following the different food groups and eating them in the right proportions, as well as ensuring an adequate supply of nutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates and vitamins).

The first food piramide alimentare was designed in 1974 in Sweden by Anna-Britt Agnsater, who worked for a grocery cooperative. The concept quickly spread across the country and became a popular way of presenting food advice. It was based on the idea that people should consume more foods from the bottom of the pyramid, which contains bread and other grains, vegetables, fruits and potatoes, than from the top which covers eggs, milk, meat and fish.

Exploring the Food Pyramid: A Guide to Balanced and Healthy Eating”

In 1992 the USDA rolled out its version of the pyramid, called MyPyramid. It also received a great deal of attention and was widely adopted throughout the world. However, it was criticised for not clearly distinguishing between the type of low-fat diet that is healthy and the kind that can worsen blood cholesterol profiles. It also grouped healthy proteins (fish, chicken, beans and nuts) with unhealthy ones (red meats), and overemphasized dairy products.

Lastly, the Food Guide Pyramid was criticized for not taking into account the importance of plant oils. These are high in monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, which help lower the risk of heart disease.