Food Guide Pyramid
The Food Guide Pyramid has become quite familiar to most Americans, although few follow the recommendations. However, it is a good set of guidelines to follow and it has now been updated.
The new Pyramid encourages people to figure out their calorie and exercise needs using a new government Web site: MyPyramid.com. At the site, you can find twelve different models based on daily calorie needs -- from the 1,000 calories for sedentary toddlers to 3,200 for teen-age boys.
The goal of the new government tools is to improve the health of a nation that has increasingly gained weight since the first pyramid debuted in 1992.
Today, nearly two out of three Americans are overweight or obese. In addition, a report in the New England Journal of Medicine contended that obesity, particularly in children, is trimming four to nine months off the average life expectancy.
Critics say that the pyramid does not go far enough in making it clear which food to eat more of and which foods to eat less of; however, the guidelines are excellent and combining them with your personal likes, dislikes and common sense could go far in helping you achieve your health and wellness goals.
Overall, the guidelines message is to choose foods packed with the most nutrition and the least calories; for example, bread made from whole-grain flour instead of white flour.
In all, there were 23 general recommendations and 18 suggestions for special populations. Officials decided that was too much to cram into the symbol and put the information on the new MyPyramid.com Web site.