The original USDA Food Guide Pyramid

The first food pyramid was created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992 in response to criticism that the previous government guide to food choices — the Four Food Group Plan (vegetables and fruits, breads and cereals, milk and milk products, meat and meat alternatives) — was too heavily weighted toward high-fat, high-cholesterol foods from animals.

Figure 17-1 depicts the original USDA Food Guide Pyramid. As you can see, this pyramid is based on daily food choices, showing you which foods are in what groups. Unlike the Four Food Group Plan, the pyramid separates fruits and vegetables into two distinct groups and lists the number of servings from each food group that you should have each day. (The number of servings is provided in ranges. The lower end is for people who consume about 1,600 calories a day, and the upper end is for people whose daily dietary intake nears 3,000 calories.)

How much is a serving? Not to worry. That's spelled out in Table 17-1.

Table 17-1

Standard Serving Sizes

Food Group

Serving Size

Bread

1 slice bread

Cereal

1 ounce ready-to-eat cereal

cup cooked cereal

Rice, pasta, crackers

cup cooked rice or pasta

5-6 small crackers

Vegetables

1 cup raw leafy vegetables

cup chopped raw vegetables

cup cooked chopped vegetables

% cup vegetable juice

Fruits

1 medium piece of fresh fruit (apple, banana,

orange, peach)

cup cooked or canned chopped fruit

% cup fruit juice

Food Group

Serving Size

Milk products

1 cup milk

1 cup yogurt

114 ounces natural cheese

2 ounces processed cheese

Meat

2-3 ounces cooked lean meat

Fish

2-3 ounces cooked fish

Poultry

2-3 ounces cooked lean poultry

Dry beans

cup cooked dry beans

Eggs

1 egg (1 ounce)

Nuts, seeds

2 tablespoons peanut butter

>3 cup nuts or seeds

Fats, oils, sweets

No specific amount; very little

The Food Guide Pyramid (Washington, D.C.: International Food Information Council Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Marketing Institute, 1995)

The Food Guide Pyramid (Washington, D.C.: International Food Information Council Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Marketing Institute, 1995)

Usda Food Pyramid
U.S. Department of Agriculture/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

One useful aspect of the original USDA Food Guide Pyramid is its recommendation of different numbers of daily servings for people consuming different amounts of calories each day. For example, consider how the recommended number of servings from the bread group varies at different levels of calorie consumption.

Table 17-2 lists the original USDA serving recommendations for three levels of calorie consumption:

1 1,600 calories per day (sufficient for women who don't exercise and for many older adults)

1 2,200 calories per day (meets the needs of most children, active women, and many sedentary men)

1 2,800 calories per day (provides the energy required by most teenage boys, many active men, and some very active women)

Table 17-2

How Many Servings: Daily Choices Based on the Original USDA Food Guide Pyramid

Food

1,600 Calories/Day

2,200 Calories/Day

2,800 Calories/Day

Bread group

6 servings

9 servings

11 servings

Fruit group

2 servings

3 servings

4 servings

Vegetable group

3 servings

4 servings

5 servings

Milk group*

2-3 servings

2-3 servings

2-3 servings

Meat group

5 ounces

6 ounces

7 ounces

* Requirements higher for women who are pregnant or nursing

The Food Guide Pyramid (Washington, D.C.: International Food Information Council Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Marketing Institute, 1995)

* Requirements higher for women who are pregnant or nursing

The Food Guide Pyramid (Washington, D.C.: International Food Information Council Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Marketing Institute, 1995)

Okay, now stare at the original Food Guide Pyramid and the servings charts until they're burned into your brain. Then move on . . . to the spanking new version of the Food Guide Pyramid on a new interactive Web site,

www.MyPyramid.gov.

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