May 23, 2005
USDA Updates Food Pyramid
WASHINGTONTheU.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) unveiled its updated food pyramid,designed to better reflect the agencys renovated dietary guidelines andemphasizes the need for an individualized approach to diet and lifestyle. Thenew design, which replaces the Food Guide Pyramid introduced in 1992, is calledMy Pyramid and features the new slogan, Steps to a Healthier You. Itfollows The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans(www.healthierus.gov/dietaryguidelines), which USDA and the U.S. Department ofHealth and Human Services released in January this year.
The new symbol features a basic pyramid divided into six vertical sections,each of which has with its own bright color representing a specific category offoods. The width of each colored section signifies its general percentage of theoverall diet, with wider sections for healthier foods suggested for higherintake. The wider sections represent fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods,while meats, fats, oils and sugars have narrower sections. The importance ofphysical exercise is demonstrated by a person climbing steps toward the top ofthe left side of the pyramid.
My Pyramid will be supported by a Web site, www.mypyramid.gov, whereconsumers can find detailed information on the foods in each category, inaddition to suggestions on physical activity and a worksheet to help track dietand exercise. The site provides indepth information on recommended daily amountsin common measurement units, such as cups and ounces, featuring examples andtips. Consumers can also enter age, gender and activity level to receive anestimate on the types and amounts of foods they should incorporate into theirdiets. The My Pyramid Tracker will compare a consumers diet and activity tocurrent nutritional guidelines, delivering relevant messages tailored to theconsumers weight management goals. A childfriendly version of the site isbeing developed to help teachers and parents guide children aged 6 to 11 onsmart eating and exercise choices.
My pyramid is about the ability of Americans to personalize their approachwhen choosing a healthier lifestyle that balances nutrition and exercise,said Mike Johanns, agriculture secretary. Many Americans can dramatically improve their overall health by makingmodest improvements to their diets and by incorporating regular physicalactivity into their daily lives.
Greg Paul, Ph.D., director of foods and beverages for The Solae Company, saidsoy protein-containing foods can help Americans meet many of the recommendationsin the new My Pyramid food guidance system. Soy protein, unlike other sourcesof protein, is not only low in fat, but is also cholesterolfree, he said. Scientific research also indicates that protein provides greatersatiety than fat or carbohydrates, which can certainly aid in weight managementissues.
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