Healthy Eating Pyramid – Making Good Food Choices

by | Sep 14, 2011 | Health Habits, Nutrition Support, Uncategorized

The Harvard School of Public Health created a Food Pyramid called ‘The Healthy Eating Pyramid‘, based on scientific evidence linking diet and health. The new Food Pyramid provides people with sound advice to make good food choices, which the Food Pyramid created by the US Department of Agriculture was unable to do.

It stresses the importance of daily exercise and controlling your weight,

because if you burn the calories you take in, there’s nothing left over to store as fat. If, on the other hand, you eat more calories than you burn off, you end up adding those pounds. The Food Pyramid for healthy eating shows the links between exercise and weight control. Both these factors shape how your food affects you and also influence your chances of staying healthy.

So what are the components of this new healthy eating Food Pyramid? The shape of the new Food Pyramid is similar to the USDA Food Pyramid but it incorporates a number of other food components apart from the five basic food groups. Here are the various components of the new Healthy Eating Pyramid:

Whole Grains such as

brown rice, oatmeal and wheat which are the best sources of carbohydrates. The body is unable to digest whole grain quickly, which is in fact good to keep the blood sugar levels from rising and falling too quickly. Due to slower digestion, whole grains keep hunger at bay, prevent Type 2 diabetes and may also offer protection against heart disease.

The healthy eating Food Pyramid recommends consuming unsaturated fats and oils

found in nuts, seeds, fatty fish like salmon, and avocados. Good sources of unsaturated fats include olive, canola, soy, peanut, sunflower and other vegetable oils.

As every other food poyramid version,

the Healthy Eating Pyramid recommends vegetables and fruits.

Vegetables and fruits are packed with valuable nutrients and including them in your diet has major health benefits. They also add a variety to your diet and make it interesting.

Beans, Nuts and Seeds have a special place

on the Healthy Eating Pyramid. Dried beans like lentils, garbanzos, navy beans and black beans are an excellent source of vitamins, protein, fiber and minerals. Nuts and seeds like pecans, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, peanuts and almonds contain healthy fats that are good for the heart.

Poultry, Eggs and Fish form an important component

of the Food Pyramid as they are a good source of protein. Nutritionists believe that fish is a healthier source of proteins than meat. Fish like salmon and cod contain omega-3 fats that are great for the body.

According to the Eating Healthy Food Pyramid,

dairy products should form part of your diet to supply calcium and Vitamin D.

Since dairy products contain high amounts of saturated fats, it recommends low fat options, or better still, calcium and vitamin D supplements.

The new Food Pyramid while giving the guidelines to healthy eating does not ban certain foods considered bad for your health.

In fact, it advises people to eat red meats, sugary sweets, sweet drinks and butter in moderation. You need not completely eliminate processed meats and refined whole grains like white rice and white bread. They can be had sparingly.  Alcohol should also be consumed in moderation according to the Food Pyramid for healthy eating.

Unlike the previous Food Pyramid, the healthy eating pyramid does not state the quantity of specific foods to be eaten. That’s because the quantum of essential foods depends on the person’s body size and physical activity. But what this Food Pyramid truly bans is foods containing trans fats which are damaging to your health. Read more about good fats, why they are essential to our body and where to find them.