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The new Food Pyramid well explained

by Georgia Ede
Published: Last Updated on

Food pyramid or food pyramid what is it?

The food pyramid responds to an organization of the food groups and their frequency of consumption in a balanced diet in proportion. We will find in it the 5 food groups arranged in such a way that, if we consume them in the right amount, we will have a balanced diet.

This is one of the few things that are part of the school content on nutrition, so it is a basic organization for a general understanding of the idea of ​​food groups and their frequency of consumption and although it is fully in force, there are already those who make a mistake, setting new trends such as the Harvard plate , a simple bet, which tells us what to put on the plate and in what proportion according to the type of food.

Next we will explain what we find in the food pyramid, the food groups and how they are established in the pyramid and why.

In addition, we will offer you the new trends in nutrition and we will tell you what has shaken the foundations of the nutritional pyramid.

First level, the base: Carbohydrates

Among them we find cereals, bread, rice, pasta, flour, potatoes and fresh vegetables. These hydrates are considered the base of the pyramid, so a daily and frequent consumption is recommended. They are complex hydrates that provide us with fiber and starches .

These foods will provide us with nutrients that will serve our body as fuel, that is, it will provide us with calories that our body needs on a daily basis for the development of the functions and activities of the body.

Over time, there are updates to this pyramid in which they indicate that it is recommended to control the amount of calories consumed, belonging to this group, since it must be proportional to the physical activity of the person.

That is, a sedentary person will not consume the same amount as someone who performs sports activities sporadically or someone who performs sports activities on a regular or daily basis. In this way, those more active people will need more of this food group than those who do not practice physical exercise on a regular basis.

On the other hand, another update regarding the pyramid is that foods with the highest amount of fiber are preferred, that is, we should preferably consume whole grains, not refined.

The fact of consuming whole grains will benefit us in digestion, and it will also provide us with fewer calories in proportion. That is why they advise us to avoid white or refined flours, since they are foods with a high load of starch and less interesting nutritional weight for the body.

Second level: Fruits, Vegetables and Vegetables

Among the foods located on the second level are fruits, vegetables and vegetables.

This type of fresh food will provide us with fiber and are highly recommended for its low fat content, in addition to providing us with few calories, they provide us with a large amount of vitamins and minerals that make it possible for our body to develop fully and the absorption of nutrients is carried out out in the best way, since if we have a nutritional deficit of vitamins or minerals, we will not take on other elements well, such as other vitamins or minerals or proteins.

On the other hand, this group could be the basis for new trends in nutrition such as the Harvard dish , since without minimizing the importance of carbohydrates, vegetables are increasingly positioned in the foods on which our nutrition, that is, in the most important foods in our diet.

And you wonder why ?, because the answer is quite simple, hydrates are essential for our body because they are the gasoline of our body, but it is that vegetables also provide us with hydrates; it also provides us with vitamins and minerals and its caloric weight is much lower, and although we do need calories to develop.

As a general rule, we consume excess carbohydrates , which is why new trends give vegetables a more important role than carbohydrates themselves, always reserving a portion of our plate for cereals, and if they are whole , better.

Within this group we can classify fruits , vegetables , and vegetables , all that you can think of, although there are some exceptions such as tubers, or roots, which depending on their consumption, are more similar to hydrates than to fruits and vegetables. A clarifying example is that of carrots.

We would consider carrots vegetables if we ate them raw, in vinegar or in salad, but if we cook them, their sugars undergo a transformation that what gives us the most are starches, which is why in that case, their nutritional properties would be more similar to that of carbohydrates.

Third level: Proteins from meat, fish, legumes, eggs and dairy

Foods located in the third level must make distinctions, firstly we will include meat and fish together with eggs in the first group of foods that represents protein of animal origin , on the other hand legumes that would be representative of protein vegetable and in a last group we would find dairy products , whose consumption is important due to their calcium contributions.

We make this distinction basically because of the difference in the frequency of consumption. Dairy products, if they are skimmed, must have a regular or daily presence, although there are other foods that provide us with calcium.

On the other hand , legumes , we must give them a greater weight than protein of animal origin, because they provide us with less fat, etc.

However, the vegetable protein from legumes, we must emphasize that it is an incomplete protein, which would lack essential amino acids that we would find in cereals, which is why its combination is so recommended today.

And both meat and fish must be present in our diet on a daily basis but with some exceptions and in just the right measure.

Exceptions: red meat, whose consumption must be occasional, and in its proper measure, we mean that the meat should not consist of the main dish, but rather be a part of the dish, rather a garnish.

This group is responsible for providing us with proteins of high biological value , zinc, iron and essential minerals.

These foods that are in the center of the pyramid and that we have divided into three groups to differentiate consumption, are a very broad group and that sometimes cannot be treated in the same way.

It is important to know that both animal and vegetable protein are essential , but we must increase in the case of vegetables since they are the ones that we consume the least, they provide us with less fat, and they are healthier, not eliminating the others, but reducing the consumption so that we consume less amount of animal protein, since we generally consume in excess .

On the other hand, it is important to give priority to fish , both white and blue, and to reduce the consumption of red meat by giving priority to white meat, if you do not know how to choose between white and blue fish , here we inform you.

Fourth level: oils and fats

This level located near the top includes fats , oils , butters and margarines and all those foods with a high fat content, such as nuts.

It is a group that can be quite disparate, a group that includes foods of different nutritional qualities, among which we should preferably consume those that are rich in fats of vegetable origin since those of animal fat are much more harmful to health , especially with the issue of cholesterol and saturated fat.

We highlight in this group the consumption of extra virgin olive oil, nuts, etc.

  • If you still don’t know how to choose between good and bad fats , here we explain it to you.

This subgroup located at the top of the pyramid, although it is the smallest, includes a multitude of foods since sugar is present in many foods, and although it refers only to those foods in which the presence of sugar is high; such as honey, sweets, preparations and industrial pastries, there are a large number of foods that meet these requirements.

The consumption of these foods should be exceptional or very occasional, and in the case of consuming them, we should do it in the first hours of the day so that those empty calories provided by this type of products are consumed.

We call empty calories those calories that provide us with food that does not provide us with quality nutrients, that is, calories that are useless because they do not provide nutrients, nutrients necessary for the body.

In the case of consuming this type of food, we can compensate it with a greater load of physical activity that manages to burn those calories, but we must not justify the consumption of this type of product for the fact of doing sports.

Conclusions about the food pyramid

The food pyramid is used as a simple guide so that users who see it can combine the foods in their diet making it a healthy diet and a balanced diet , but seeing it this way it is difficult to make a correct food choice, so We have decided to explain it and present some basic measures.

First of all, it must be said that a balanced menu consists of around 55% carbohydrates , 25% fat and 20% protein , in addition to vitamins, minerals and fiber. These data constitute a basic idea and although they may vary, the representation is this.

The variations can be many since we can make a balanced diet with higher protein content ( protein diet ) and lower carbohydrate content (low-carb diet ) in addition to a diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates ( ketogenic diet ). But the basic premises are those that mark the Mediterranean diet.

Not only diet is the basis of balance, but physical exercise also constitutes a corrector of calorie intake and will help us both to maintain weight and to lose weight if we wish. In this case, we can recommend a balanced diet to lose weight naturally.

We must emphasize that all nutritional groups are necessary, in their proper measure (with the exception of sugars) and that depending a little on the amounts and proportions, a balanced diet for a person of normal constitution can range between 1600 calories and 2400 , increasing or decreasing where appropriate, taking into account the physical-sporting activity that is practiced and the frequency of training.

It is not advisable in any case to eliminate any food group , with the exception of sugars that provide us with empty calories.

What errors do we perceive in the nutritional pyramid?

Well, the nutritional pyramid has been the example of a nutritional guide for decades, but what has happened in recent years that has shaken the foundations of those principles of the pyramid?

The answer is quite simple, the study of diet and health studies have revealed new and interesting data about the nutritional pyramid that it is important that we highlight to be up-to-date in health trends.

The first is easy to see: carbohydrates should NOT be the basis of our diet. After all, carbohydrates are sugars, if the bread we consume is white, in the end they are refined flours that have nothing to do with the perception of cereals as we understood them, no fiber, so important for the body and also few nutrients and of little relevance.

The basis of our diet should be fruits and vegetables, fresh products, natural products, not processed or precooked, and after all, bread is becoming a product of little nutritional value due to its high refinement.

On the other hand, protein is necessary but it must be in less quantity than what they used to recommend with the nutritional pyramid, especially if we compare it with other foods such as oil, it is incomprehensible that olive oil, whose properties are not are debatable, it is in the same group as simple sugars, sweets and pastries.

The olive oil is a healthy fat consumption in their half of which is necessary and interesting just for the body and can not put the level of empty calories that give us sugars.

This is the same case as that of nuts , healthy products, with fat but vegetable fat and healthy, nothing to do with sweets and processed products.

For this reason, currently there is more commitment to another type of pyramid, which has meant the bankruptcy of the foundations of what had always been the reference, but we cannot tolerate that red meat is consumed more than olive oil, this cannot be, since there are even reports that support what we say. Reports from the WHO (world health organization) that indicate that high consumption of red meat is related to a greater predisposition to diseases such as cancer .

How do we solve the nutritional pyramid? The Harvard Plate

The Harvard dish responds to the body’s needs in a nutritional way and ranks first in the healthy eating trend. The new studies support its principles by being healthier than those of the old nutritional pyramid.

That is why we advise that your diet is not based on carbohydrates, but on vegetables, that proteins have basically the same proportion as carbohydrates and that you include all the food groups in your diet by carrying out complete dishes such as indicates the Harvard plate. Simple guidelines that allow us to create countless dishes by proportionally combining each food group.

What would a correct nutritional pyramid look like today?

Basically it would be a simpler pyramid, in which we base our diet on fresh and natural products. We could say that it would be a healthier pyramid, but also clearer. Here is an image of the new nutritional pyramid.

As you can see at the base are the fruits and vegetables that should be part of 50% of our daily plate, with 20-25% of proteins on the left side and 20-25% of carbohydrates and proteins of vegetable origin that We find on the right side and around 5% of healthy fats present in the upper level, among which we highlight olive oil, nuts, avocado and also coconut oil.

At the top we find foods of exceptional or very occasional consumption such as red meat, sweets, industrial pastries, etc., which we should exclude as far as possible from our diet.

With this nutritional pyramid model we will achieve a healthier pyramid that allows us to lead a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet.

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