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The Healthy Eating Pyramid
The Healthy Eating Pyramid
 

The Healthy Eating Pyramid

Some 20 years ago the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) created a visual representation of what an adult American should be eating: the Healthy Eating Pyramid. The Healthy Eating Pyramid structure was a stroke of genius. The shape and the manner in which the food was represented indicated that some foods were good and should be consumed in larger quantities while some were important but should be eaten in lesser quantities. Towards the peak of the Healthy Eating Pyramid were food that should be consumed the least.

This simple visual guide conveyed in a flash the main elements of a healthy diet. Those of us who went to an American school in the late 80’s would remember this Pyramid. There were countless media articles and brochures on the subject but then it is doubtful many of us even remember all that now.

About five years ago, the USDA re-launched the Healthy Eating Pyramid renaming it ‘MyPyramid’. This time they made it into an online interactive kind of thing. While the attempt was good, it is still far from perfect. The re-launched Healthy Eating Pyramid Guide while better than the previous one still failed to convey adequate information to help people make the right food choices. Also, it continued to recommend foods that according to most nutritionists should not even be on your menu.

As an alternative to the government’s somewhat flawed Healthy Eating Pyramid Guide, the Harvard School of Public Health did a fresh study and came up with the Healthy Eating Pyramid that you see here.


The Healthy Eating Pyramid designed by Harvard School of Public Health is based on scientific evidence that links the food we eat to the state of our health. This new pyramid fixes fundamental flaws in the USDA pyramid and offers sound information to help people make better choices about what to eat.

The Healthy Eating Pyramid Explained

At the bottom of the Healthy Eating Pyramid they have indicated a diet of daily exercise and weight control because these two elements strongly influence your health.

Weight change = calories in – calories out. In other words, if you utilize as many calories as you consume then your weight will remain the same. If you consume more number of calories then it the excess is stored as fat. Exercise helps not only keeps your muscles toned it helps you burn any excess calories you might have consumed.

As we move up the Healthy Eating Pyramid, we encounter ‘Whole Grains’. These are the main source of carbohydrates (energy) for your body.  Excellent sources of carbohydrates include oatmeal, brown rice and whole wheat bread. On the same level are ‘fats and oils’ and ‘vegetables and fruits’. Fats are extremely essential to our body. Healthy fats are found in olive oil, soy, corn, canola, peanut, sunflower, nuts, avocadoes, seeds and fish such as salmon.

You will find detailed information on each of the food items mentioned in the Healthy Eating Pyramid Guide in other articles on this site.

There is something important that you need to note about the Healthy Eating Pyramid designed by Harvard School of Public Health; the Healthy Eating Pyramid does not state how much you should be eating. This is an important deviation and they explain it by stating that the Healthy Eating Pyramid is not meant to be a rigid road map. Also, the amount of food consumed should depend on the person’s body size and physical activity. The Healthy Eating Pyramid designed by Harvard School of Public Health is meant to be a simple, flexible guide as to the food that should be on your menu.

The Healthy Eating Pyramid




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