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The FDA Food Pyramid

The FDA Food Pyramid

The FDA food pyramid is a tool designed by nutrition experts that the United States Department of Agriculture promotes to help people make better, more nutritious food choices.

The FDA food pyramid underwent a big change when the U.S. government updated its dietary guidelines in 2005.

In the old FDA food pyramid, food groups at the bottom were to be eaten more than the foods at the top. Grains, such as bread, cereal, rice and pasta, should be eaten the most, according to the food pyramid. This is followed by fruits and vegetables. Meat and dairy products come next. Notice that the meat group also contains items such as eggs and nuts.

At the very top were the fats, oils and sweets which should be eaten infrequently. This is because these foods contain high amounts of calories and fats with very few vitamins and minerals, if any.

Instead of using the FDA food pyramid as a visual guide to how much of each nutrient to take in (grains were on the bottom, so you were supposed to eat those the most), now they just lump everything next to each other and make individual comments.

Here are some important points about the new FDA food pyramid:

* Eat at least 3 ounces of whole grains per day (cereal, crackers, rice, pasta, and bread)

* Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and prepare them any way you like, except frying.

* Get at least 3 daily servings of low-fat dairy, including skim milk, hard cheese, or non-fat/low-fat yogurt (sorry, ice cream doesn’t count!)

* Select lean cuts of meat, and prepare them by baking, grilling or broiling.

* Use healthier oils when cooking, such as canola and safflower oils.

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