Why the USDA Food Your Pyramid Affects Your Heart

So, in 2005, the USDA updated the food guide pyramid.  There was a whole big to-do about it because its entire layout changed.  A lot of people weren’t happy about it, and a lot of people didn’t understand it.  However, because of strenuous efforts on the government’s part, public understanding of this new pyramid has risen and people are beginning to regard it more than they have any other pyramid update in the past.

A Revised Food Pyramid Helps You Envision Usable Portions

The one, big, obvious no-brainer when you look at the new pyramid is, “Oh, hey, the food groups are upright now!”  That they are.  The USDA felt that the old stacked version was too inflexible.  There was no way to look at the blocks of the pyramid and see how a smaller caloric need would look.  Looking at the older layout, it’s impossible to see ratios of servings.  This is problematic for someone like me (I’m under five feet tall and need fewer calories than, say, my boss, who I’d guess is over six feet tall).  It’s also no good for children, and very inflexible for people with special dietary needs.

More Emphasis on the Heart Healthy Benefits of Whole Grains

The new pyramid also put a little bit more emphasis on whole grains.  Well, good!  Whole grains are great.  They’re full of fiber and are just great if you want to help your health.  The adjustments to the food groups were made based on research, in which it became evident that more whole grains were needed.  Also, studies showed that Americans should definitely eat and drink more low-fat dairy products.

It’s About More Than Just Eating–USDA Now is Now Asking You to Exercise Too!

A quick glance at the pyramid also displays on more blaring difference from previous adjustments:  there is a stick figure running up the side of it.  Oh yes, that is a part of the pyramid.  Some people thought it was just part of the government advertisement supporting the pyramid when it was first released.  That little man is, in fact, a fixed part of the pyramid.  Never before has a food pyramid ever actually told you to exercise, but that’s the idea here with the little pyramid-climbing stick-man.

Your Heart Wil Thank You: New Food Pyramid Helps You Better Visualize How to Eat Right.

You’re probably wondering why all of this is important to you.  Well, this new pyramid is more flexible and caters more to people’s needs to alter their diets.  The encouragement of more whole grains is a big step towards introducing a more heart healthy diet into American homes.  The pyramid also allows you to imagine portion control, which is a biggie for high cholesterol patients.  Because of the tapering of the food group columns, you can work upwards from the base to sort of find where you think you should be.  You can see the size of each group in relation to the others at this level, and know how to balance yourself out better.

The campaign behind the new pyramid is MyPyramid, the idea that your meal plan can fit your health needs.  If you make it your pyramid, you can use it to help your heart.

For more information, visit http://www.mypyramid.gov