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New Food Pyramid 2005      

Anatomy of MyPyramid

One size doesn't fit all
USDA’s new MyPyramid symbolizes a personalized approach to healthy eating and physical activity. The symbol has been designed to be simple. It has been developed to remind consumers to make healthy food choices and to be active every day. The different parts of the symbol are described below.

Activity
Activity is represented by the steps and the person climbing them, as a reminder of the importance of daily physical activity.

Moderation
Moderation is represented by the narrowing of each food group from bottom to top. The wider base stands for foods with little or no solid fats or added sugars. These should be selected more often. The narrower top area stands for foods containing more added sugars and solid fats. The more active you are, the more of these foods can fit into your diet.

Personalization
Personalization is shown by the person on the steps, the slogan, and the URL. Find the kinds of amounts of food to eat each day at MyPyramid.gov

Proportionality
Proportionality is shown by the different widths of the food group bands. The widths suggest how much food a person should choose from each group. The widths are just a general guide, not exact proportions. Check the Web site for how much is right for you.

Variety
Variety is symbolized by the 6 color bands representing the 5 food groups of the Pyramid and oils. This illustrates that foods from all groups are needed each day for good health.

Gradual Improvement
Gradual improvement is encouraged by the slogan. It suggests that individuals can benefit from taking small steps to improve their diet and lifestyle each day.

Calorie Level1
1,000
1,200
1,400
1,600
1,800
2,000
Fruits2
1 cup
1 cup
1.5 cups
1.5 cups
1.5 cups
2 cups
Vegetables3
1 cup
1.5 cups
1.5 cups
2 cups
2.5 cups
2.5 cups
Grains4
3 oz–eq
4 oz–eq
5 oz–eq
5 oz–eq
6 oz–eq
6 oz–eq
Meat and Beans5
2 oz–eq
3 oz–eq
4 oz–eq
5 oz–eq
5 oz–eq
5.5 oz–eq
Milk6
2 cups
2 cups
2 cups
3 cups
3 cups
3 cups
Oils7
3 tsp
4 tsp
4 tsp
5 tsp
5 tsp
6 tsp
Discretionary calorie allowance8
165
171
171
132
195
267
Calorie Level1
2,200
2,400
2,600
2,800
3,000
3,200
Fruits2
2 cups
2 cups
2 cups
2.5 cups
2.5 cups
2.5 cups
Vegetables3
3 cups
3 cups
3.5 cups
3.5 cups
4 cups
4 cups
Grains4
7 oz–eq
8 oz–eq
9 oz–eq
10 oz–eq
10 oz–eq
10 oz–eq
Meat and Beans5
6 oz–eq
6.5 oz–eq
6.5 oz–eq
7 oz–eq
7 oz–eq
7 oz–eq
Milk6
3 cups
3 cups
3 cups
3 cups
3 cups
3 cups
Oils7
6 tsp
7 tsp
8 tsp
8 tsp
10 tsp
11 tsp
Discretionary calorie allowance8
290
362
410
426
512
648

  1. Calorie Levels are set across a wide range to accommodate the needs of different individuals. The attached table “Estimated Daily Calorie Needs” can be used to help assign individuals to the food intake pattern at a particular calorie level.
  2. Fruit Group includes all fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits and fruit juices. In general, 1 cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice, or 1/2 cup of dried fruit can be considered as 1 cup from the fruit group.
  3. Vegetable Group includes all fresh, frozen, canned, and dried vegetables and vegetable juices. In general, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens can be considered as 1 cup from the vegetable group.

Vegetable Subgroup Amounts are Per Week
Calorie Level
1,000
1,200
1,400
1,600
1,800
2,000
Dark green veg.
1 c/wk
1.5 c/wk
1.5 c/wk
2 c/wk
3 c/wk
3 c/wk
Orange veg.
.5 c/wk
1 c/wk
1 c/wk
1.5 c/wk
2 c/wk
2 c/wk
Legumes
.5 c/wk
1 c/wk
1 c/wk
2.5 c/wk
3 c/wk
3 c/wk
Starchy veg.
1.5 c/wk
2.5 c/wk
2.5 c/wk
2.5 c/wk
3 c/wk
3 c/wk
Other veg.
3.5 c/wk
4.5 c/wk
4.5 c/wk
5.5 c/wk
6.5 c/wk
6.5 c/wk
Calorie Level
2,200
2,400
2,600
2,800
3,000
3,200
Dark green veg.
3 c/wk
3 c/wk
3 c/wk
3 c/wk
3 c/wk
3 c/wk
Orange veg.
2 c/wk
2 c/wk
2.5 c/wk
2.5 c/wk
2.5 c/wk
2.5 c/wk
Legumes
3 c/wk
3 c/wk
3.5 c/wk
3.5 c/wk
3.5 c/wk
3.5 c/wk
Starchy veg.
6 c/wk
6 c/wk
7 c/wk
7 c/wk
9 c/wk
9 c/wk
Other veg.
7 c/wk
7 c/wk
8.5 c/wk
8.5 c/wk
10 c/wk
10 c/wk

  1. Grains Group includes all foods made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, such as bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits. In general, 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice, pasta, or cooked cereal can be considered as 1 ounce equivalent from the grains group. At least half of all grains consumed should be whole grains.
  2. Meat & Beans Group in general, 1 ounce of lean meat, poultry, or fish, 1 egg, 1 Tbsp. peanut butter, 1/4 cup cooked dry beans, or 1/2 ounce of nuts or seeds can be considered as 1 ounce equivalent from the meat and beans group.
  3. Milk Group includes all fluid milk products and foods made from milk that retain their calcium content, such as yogurt and cheese. Foods made from milk that have little to no calcium, such as cream cheese, cream, and butter, are not part of the group. Most milk group choices should be fat-free or low-fat. In general, 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese can be considered as 1 cup from the milk group.
  4. Oils include fats from many different plants and from fish that are liquid at room temperature, such as canola, corn, olive, soybean, and sunflower oil. Some foods are naturally high in oils, like nuts, olives, some fish, and avocados. Foods that are mainly oil include mayonnaise, certain salad dressings, and soft margarine.
  5. Discretionary Calorie Allowance is the remaining amount of calories in a food intake pattern after accounting for the calories needed for all food groups—using forms of foods that are fat-free or low-fat and with no added sugars.

Estimated Daily Calorie Needs

To determine which food intake pattern to use for an individual, the following chart gives an estimate of individual calorie needs. The calorie range for each age/sex group is based on physical activity level, from sedentary to active.

  Calorie Range
 
Sedentary
Active
Children
 
 
2–3 years
1,000
1,400
Females
4–8 years
1,200
1,800
9–13
1,600
2,200
14–18
1,800
2,400
19–30
2,000
2,400
31–50
1,800
2,200
51+
1,600
2,200
Males
 
 
4–8 years
1,400
2,000
9–13
1,800
2,600
14–18
2,200
3,200
19–30
2,400
3,000
31–50
2,200
3,000
51+
2,000
2,800


Sedentary means a lifestyle that includes only the light physical activity associated with typical day-to-day life.

Active means a lifestyle that includes physical activity equivalent to walking more than 3 miles per day at 3 to 4 miles per hour, in addition to the light physical activity associated with typical day-to-day life.

 

 

Discretionary Calories

What are discretionary calories?

You need a certain number of calories to keep your body functioning and provide energy for physical activities. Think of the calories you need for energy like money you have to spend. Each person has a total calorie “budget.” This budget can be divided into “essentials” and “extras.”

With a financial budget, the essentials are items like rent and food. The extras are things like movies and vacations. In a calorie budget, the “essentials” are the minimum calories required to meet your nutrient needs. By selecting the lowest fat and no-sugar-added forms of foods in each food group you would make the best nutrient “buys.” Depending on the foods you choose, you may be able to spend more calories than the amount required to meet your nutrient needs. These calories are the “extras” that can be used on luxuries like solid fats, added sugars, and alcohol, or on more food from any food group. They are your “discretionary calories.”

Each person has an allowance for some discretionary calories. But, many people have used up this allowance before lunch-time! Most discretionary calorie allowances are very small, between 100 and 300 calories, especially for those who are not physically active. For many people, the discretionary calorie allowance is totally used by the foods they choose in each food group, such as higher fat meats, cheeses, whole milk, or sweetened bakery products.

You can use your discretionary calorie allowance to:

* Eat more foods from any food group than the food guide recommends.
* Eat higher calorie forms of foods—those that contain solid fats or added sugars. Examples are whole milk, cheese, sausage, biscuits, sweetened cereal, and sweetened yogurt.
* Add fats or sweeteners to foods. Examples are sauces, salad dressings, sugar, syrup, and butter.
* Eat or drink items that are mostly fats, caloric sweeteners, and/or alcohol, such as candy, soda, wine, and beer.

For example, assume your calorie budget is 2,000 calories per day. Of these calories, you need to spend at least 1,735 calories for essential nutrients, if you choose foods without added fat and sugar. Then you have 265 discretionary calories left. You may use these on “luxury” versions of the foods in each group, such as higher fat meat or sweetened cereal. Or, you can spend them on sweets, sauces, or beverages. Many people overspend their discretionary calorie allowance, choosing more added fats, sugars, and alcohol than their budget allows.

 

Why is it important to eat vegetables?

Eating vegetables provides health benefits — people who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Vegetables provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.

Health benefits

* Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for stroke and perhaps other cardiovascular diseases.

* Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for type 2 diabetes.

* Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet may protect against certain cancers, such as mouth, stomach, and colon-rectum cancer.

* Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

* Eating fruits and vegetables rich in potassium as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and may help to decrease bone loss.

* Eating foods such as vegetables that are low in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake.

Nutrients
Food sources of the nutrients in bold can be found in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Click on the nutrient name to link to the food sources table.

* Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. None have cholesterol. (Sauces or seasonings may add fat, calories, or cholesterol.)

* Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C.

* Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Vegetable sources of potassium include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce, and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, winter squash, spinach, lentils, kidney beans, and split peas.

* Dietary fiber from vegetables, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fiber-containing foods such as vegetables help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.

* Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant and those in the first trimester of pregnancy should consume adequate folate, including folic acid from fortified foods or supplements. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly during fetal development.

* Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.

* Vitamin E helps protect vitamin A and essential fatty acids from cell oxidation.

* Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C aids in iron absorption.

 

What is Physical Activity?

Physical activity simply means movement of the body that uses energy. Walking, gardening, briskly pushing a baby stroller, climbing the stairs, playing soccer, or dancing the night away are all good examples of being active. For health benefits, physical activity should be moderate or vigorous and add up to at least 30 minutes a day.

Moderate physical activities include:

* Walking briskly (about 3 ½ miles per hour)
* Hiking
* Gardening/yard work
* Dancing
* Golf (walking and carrying clubs)
* Bicycling (less than 10 miles per hour)
* Weight training (general light workout)

Vigorous physical activities include:

* Running/jogging (5 miles per hour)
* Bicycling (more than 10 miles per hour)
* Swimming (freestyle laps)
* Aerobics
* Walking very fast (4 ½ miles per hour)
* Heavy yard work, such as chopping wood
* Weight lifting (vigorous effort)
* Basketball (competitive)

Some physical activities are not intense enough to help you meet the recommendations. Although you are moving, these activities do not increase your heart rate, so you should not count these towards the 30 or more minutes a day that you should strive for. These include walking at a casual pace, such as while grocery shopping, and doing light household chores.

 

 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FOOD GUIDANCE SYSTEM


What is the original Food Guide Pyramid?

* Developed in 1992, the original Pyramid was an educational tool used to help Americans select healthful diets.
* The original Pyramid translated nutrition recommendations for consumers, from the Dietary Guidelines and the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA’s) published in 1989, into the kinds and amounts of food to eat each day.
* Now MyPyramid, the new food guidance system, is replacing the original Food Guide Pyramid.

What is the relationship between the Dietary Guidelines and MyPyramid?

* The Dietary Guidelines for Americans represent federal nutrition policy.
* MyPyramid is the educational tool designed to help consumers make healthier food and physical activity choices for a healthy lifestyle that are consistent with the guidelines.
* The U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, first released in 1980 and revised in 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000 and most recently in January 2005, jointly.
* MyPyramid translates the principles of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and other nutritional standards to assist consumers in making healthier food and physical activity choices.
* MyPyramid was developed and issued by USDA.

What was the timeline for the revision of the Food Guide Pyramid and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans?

* The process for updating the Pyramid was coordinated with the activities of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. However, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee was not responsible for revising the Food Guide Pyramid.
* USDA and HHS released the 6th edition of the Dietary Guidelines jointly in January 2005.

The MyPyramid symbol in its simplest form has no foods pictured in it. How will consumers know what to eat?

* One symbol can’t carry all the nutrition guidance. The new symbol was designed to be simple. It reminds consumers to make healthy food and physical activity choices and be physically active every day. Each person has a Pyramid that is right for them based on their age, sex and physical activity level. Consumers are encouraged to find out what they need to eat each day and their physical activity level at MyPyramid.gov.

Why doesn’t the new graphic illustrate trans fatty acids, water or other items?

* In the original 1992 Food Guide Pyramid graphic, it was not possible to incorporate all nutrition guidance in one graphic, so several key messages were selected for illustration. When revising USDA’s food guidance, the choice was to either to further complicate the graphic by adding more concepts or to simplify the graphic. USDA chose to reduce the graphic’s complexity and develop stronger supporting tools that provide clear guidance for consumers.

Why revise the original Pyramid?

* USDA has been providing nutrition guidance for over 100 years. USDA released the original Food Guide Pyramid in 1992. MyPyramid reflects the most current science; and the updated tools are designed for ease of use by consumers.

What are the goals for MyPyramid?

* The primary goal for MyPyramid is to encourage dietary and physical activity behavior change among American consumers. Although most consumers recognize the original Pyramid, only a small percentage of them followed it in its entirety.

What’s different about MyPyramid?

* The MyPyramid symbol is one part of the food guidance system, an update to the Food Guide Pyramid. The new MyPyramid offers consumers a more personalized approach to healthy eating and physical activity.

What is the food guidance system?

* The food guidance system is MyPyramid. The name food guidance system was used as a working title before the name MyPyramid was selected. MyPyramid is made up of motivational and educational tools designed to help consumers make healthier food choices. The motivational tools are the new MyPyramid symbol and slogan, “Steps to a Healthier You.” The educational tools are the educational framework, consumer messages found on the new poster and the interactive activities that will help consumers find the Pyramid that is right for them. These tools provide personalization and information on demand.

What were the steps in the revision of the original Pyramid and development of MyPyramid?

* The revision of the original Food Guide Pyramid was conducted in two phases – a technical reassessment and communications development.
* The reassessment and revision was an open, public process. Information was shared with the public and feedback was solicited at several stages.
* The new MyPyramid food guidance system reflects the recommendations of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
* The technical reassessment included updating of the original Pyramid’s daily food intake patterns (recommendations on what and how much to eat) to assure that the science base is up-to-date.
o The food intake patterns were revised to meet new nutritional standards, including new energy requirements, and to reflect present food consumption patterns and nutrient content of foods.
o The process and results of the technical reassessment were posted in the September 11, 2003, Federal Register (68 FR 53536) for review and comment. Comments were solicited on the proposed new food intake patterns from health and education professionals, government and industry scientists and the American public.
o The technical reassessment was also discussed with the 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, and the new food intake patterns were finalized after incorporating their input.
o USDA received widespread support for the science-based revisions proposed for the food guidance system.
o These new food intake patterns form the basis for USDA’s new MyPyramid food guidance system.
* The communications strategy for the MyPyramid food guidance system was designed to provide consumers with motivational and educational tools to help them implement its recommendations. The system includes:
1. a new motivational symbol and slogan, “Steps to a Healthier You,”
2. clear and concise nutrition messages for educational materials like posters and brochures that communicate the new food guidance recommendations in ways consumers can more easily understand and put into practice, and
3. interactive activities to help consumers personalize their diet and get more information on topics of interest to them.
o A second Federal Register notice was posted on July 13, 2004, (69 FR 42030) to outline USDA’s plans for the communications strategy for the new food guidance system and provide the public the opportunity to comment.
o The new graphic image, slogan and consumer messages were tested with consumers during the development process.

What are discretionary calories?

* Individuals need a certain number of calories to keep their bodies functioning and to provide energy for physical activities – this is the total energy requirement. The energy requirement depends upon a person’s age, gender, body size and physical activity level. If an individual chose to eat all foods in their lowest fat form and with no added sugars, they could meet their nutrient needs using fewer calories than the calories in their total energy requirement. This would leave a remaining balance of calories needed to meet energy needs, but not needed to meet specific nutrient needs. This balance is the discretionary calorie allowance. In other words, the discretionary calorie allowance is the balance of calories remaining in a person’s total energy requirement after accounting for the calories needed to meet nutrient needs by eating foods in low-fat or no added sugar forms.
* Each person has an allowance for some discretionary calories, but most discretionary calorie allowances are very small, between 100 and 300 calories, especially for those who are not physically active. The discretionary calorie allowance can be used to increase the amount of nutrient-dense foods or to select foods that are not in their most nutrient-dense form, sweetened beverages, additional foods, or additions to foods (e.g., salad dressing, sugar, butter). For many people, the discretionary calorie allowance is totally used by the foods they choose in each food group.

What other designs were tested?

* Several designs were tested. Pyramid-shaped designs, Pyramid-like designs and non-Pyramid designs were all tested with consumers
* Several rounds of consumer testing were used to identify the appeal of various designs and to refine elements of the top ranking designs.

What are the shortfalls of the American diet?

* The American diet is not in balance. On average, Americans don’t eat enough dark greens, orange vegetables and legumes, fruits, whole grains and low-fat milk products. They eat more fats and added sugars. To bring the diet into balance, MyPyramid recommends eating more of the under-consumed foods and less solid fats, added sugars, and caloric sweeteners and foods rich in these.

How do you use the Food Guidance System?

* There are many ways to use the Food Guidance System. One way is to follow the food group recommendations found on the MyPyramid.gov Web site or on the poster. Also, consumers can find out what and how much they need to eat each day by going to the Web site and plugging in their height, weight and age to get more personal recommendations. For consumers who want to evaluate their current diet and physical activity pattern, they can go to the Web site and click on the MyPyramid Tracker.

What’s next?

* USDA is just getting started. USDA’s next step is to help teachers work with children to learn about the Food Guidance System. Look for materials targeted for children later this year. USDA plans to develop additional interactive tools to help consumers make healthier food choices. USDA also plans to work with partners to amplify the messages and reach of the food guidance system to consumers.

What advice does the revised Pyramid have for children?

* MyPyramid is appropriate for children aged 2 and up. Additional materials for children are currently in development – which will include specific graphics, messages and materials developed to reach children – in coordination with the overall project.

Does MyPyramid address the obesity epidemic?

* USDA is committed to combating obesity. MyPyramid helps consumers find the right amount of food needed to balance with their daily physical activity.
* MyPyramid encourages consumers to shift their focus on more nutrient-dense foods that are now under-consumed. This should help them meet their nutrient needs within their calorie level.

What are the benefits of the new Food Guidance System?

* It enables the use of a symbol as a stand-alone visual to represent the overall food guidance system without being cluttered by specific messages;
* It more effectively teaches consumers what and how much to eat through clear, tailored nutrition messages and diet personalization;
* It helps combat obesity by encouraging healthier eating patterns;
* It helps to improves the overall health and well-being of Americans; and
* It more effectively reaches consumers through the use of multiple channels including the Internet.