How Does A Food Pyramid Help Individuals Eat a Healthy Diet?

Food Pyramid

Since we are kids, the food pyramid is something we hear and repeat over and over again.

But then we grow up, and our health demands us better performance and broader knowledge. 

Thus, we begin asking ourselves: How does a food pyramid help individuals eat a healthy diet?

While the food pyramid is a guide for nutrition, it’s how accurately you apply it what determines how helpful it is for your nourishment.

This equation seems quite simple, but following the pyramid’s parameters has its own tricks.

To help you on your journey to a better lifestyle, we bring a guide on how a food pyramid helps you eating healthily.

So, keep reading and start changing the way you see food today!

Food Pyramid, is it the only option?

As we mentioned before, following the food pyramid is not as elementary as it may seem.

Since 1992, the US has changed the food pyramids twice and added a circular adaptation.

Almost all of us learned at school that the best representation for the food combination was the 1992 version of the Food Pyramid.

This version consisted of a divided pyramid that separated the different groups of food and the recommended portions in order of priority.

In those groups, we would find carbohydrates on the base, followed by vegetables and fruits at the same level, proteins at the next step, and oils/sweets at the upper level.

One of the main features of this model was the generality, which means, the same format (pyramid) for everyone.

Unquestionably, this conception was convenient for society getting the knowledge, consciousness, and habits they should apply.

Nevertheless, new trends have brought a new way to conceive the nutritional practices.

The second version of the pyramid appeared in 2005.

It implied 12 diverse possibilities, considering sex, age, and degree of physical activity, matching colors with various groups of food.

Thus, the generalization of the previous variant has been replaced and overcome.

In this case, we find orange for grains, green for veggies, yellow for fats/oils, red for fruits, blue for milk, and purple for meats and beans, adding the value of training daily.

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As the population developed chronic diseases related to nutrition, such as diabetes, overweight, heart attack, etc. it was crucial to reinterpret the nutrient requirements.

To attend this need, in 2011, the USDA created My Plate.

It consists of a spheroid shape (a plate) divided by colors, each one associated with every kind of food.

The actual model is a new intent of personalizing the average citizen nutrition, keeping the colors but excluding fat/oils and exercising from the representation.

The essential sense of My Plate version is to make the average diet adequate.

As we can see, every model introduces improvements to the previous conception:

  • Role of exercising
  • The quality of food consumed.
  • Consideration of personal conditions and requirements

However, each of them has received a non-short amount of critics:

  • Generalization
  • Lack of clarity in presentation
  • The Excessive Focus in Food Skipping
  • The Relevance of Daily Training
  • The increment of chronic cases in diseases associated with food eating

Here is when we put our hands on our heads, and we ask with some confusion: What’s the model we should be usingMy Plate or the Food Pyramid?

And, that’s what will clarify next, precisely. Keep reading!

Did My Plate replace the Food Pyramid?

Given this overview, the best option is a complementary model that contemplates the benefits of each version.

Unfortunately, that option is not official yet.

But, as the most studied and applied for fitness goals is the original food pyramid, we’ll stick to that version until official entities agree on what to do with the rest of them. 

We recommend you do the same as most diets, nutritional plans, and healthy lifestyles are based on that version.

So no, My Plate hasn’t replaced the Food Pyramid!

Macronutrients vs. Micronutrients

In the framework of self-care and healthy lifestyle, there is a common interest in the nutritional value of food.

Evidence suggests that the better we feed ourselves, the best our health parameters will be.

Especially, in the long-term.

For that reason, understanding the concept of Macronutrient and Micronutrient is crucial.

The definition is simple: We talk about Macronutrients (macros) to refer to those nutrients our body needs in a larger quantity.

On the other hand, Micronutrients (micros) are the supplements or those nutrients that our system requires in fewer amounts.

Macronutrients are:

  • Proteins (peanuts, beans, eggs, whole grains, veggies).
  • Carbohydrates (grains, dairy, fruits).
  • Fats (oils, seeds, fish).

The heart of the Food Pyramid has designed over Macronutrients and their contribution to the daily diet. 

Micronutrients are basically:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water

The recent approach recognizes that a complete nutritional plan must include the knowledge and introduction of Micronutrients.

  • How many macros and micros should I Eat To Sustain a healthy diet?

Whether you’re trying to gain muscle, lose fat, or do both, optimizing your Macros and Micros nutritional intake is the most important thing you can do to help you achieve your fitness goals.

Below, you can find more information about the recommended macros and micros intake.

How Many Macros Should I Eat To Lose Weight?

Widely used by individuals looking to shed pounds or gain muscle mass, counting Macronutrients (Macros) can help you reach different health goals.

Proteins
Protein For Weight Loss

We have them around all our body (tissues, muscles, ligaments, hair, bones, ligaments, and skin).

They hold a substantial function in our anatomy, allowing vital processes such as: 

  • Transporting of nutrients
  • Assisting chemical reactions to happen faster
  • Fabricating essential structures
  • Combating infections
  • Keeping a neutral habitat in our bodies through the equilibrium of acid/basic.

Proteins are composed of amino acids, and even though there is an abundance of them in nature, the human body requires 20 of them to complete all its primary processes.

Nevertheless, our organism is not capable of producing all the amino acids by itself, so it needs to obtain 9 of them (essentials amino-acids) from external sources.

Animal-based protein (egg, meat, cheese, fish) and soy foods provide all the 9 essential amino acids in satisfying measures.

While whole grain, legumes, nuts, some veggies and, seeds have a high proportion of some amino acids but less of others.

As standard, an adult body can’t use more than 0.91 grams per pound of body mass.

Exceeding that amount won’t bring you any benefit for your fitness journey.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates become glucose (sugar) after digestion, and its role is to provide calories in our diet.

In other words, giving combustible to our Central Nervous System.

There are two kinds of carbs:

The recommendation is to consume a considerable quantity of unprocessed carbs such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans.

On the other hand, restricting the consumption of processed food such as spaghetti, bread, sweets, and soda. 

Unprocessed carbs contribute extensively to your health, bringing fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.

They also provide the necessary energy for rocking it at the gym.

The indiscriminate consumption of processed carbs, on the contrary, can bring diseases such as diabetes and won’t help in weight loss or muscle gain.

Aliments that have a lower conglomerate of sugar, so they are absorbed faster in your blood flow, an example of them are fruits.

Food that has a higher conglomerate of glucose, so they take more time to assimilate.

 

They ordinarily supply more permanent energy during the day, an example of them could be bread, beans, whole grains, sweets, and potatoes.

Fats
Healthy Fat Sources

Fat allows the transference of vitamins throughout our glands, keeping them functioning.

Also, healthy fats work as an energy reserve for the prime functions.

Without them, our organism wouldn’t be able to react if we miss lunch, for example.

We can get healthy fats from organic food such as avocados and nuts, from essential oils with Omega-3 fats (fish), and flax seeds.

Besides, we can avoid damaging fats in hydrogenating oils, red meat, and buttery.

What About Micros?

Micros are much smaller measured values in terms of nutrition.

Micronutrients are essential to our overall health and wellness. They aid in the production of enzymes, hormones, and proteins that are critical to body and brain function.

Vitamins
Micros - Vitamins

These are a mixture of organic chemicals that have a specific activity in the body.

Vitamins are not vital for immediate subsistence, but in the long term, a diet without vitamins can impede healthy development.

Vitamins complement vital actions such as:

  • The build of tissues.
  • Blood generation.
  • Advancement of the nervous system.
  • Limit cell degeneration.
  • Antioxidant function.

Examples of vitamins are Vitamin A, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E, K. All of them easily find it in food or dietary supplements.

Minerals
Nutrition is Key To a Healthy Lifestyle

Minerals are chemical components that can more easily be degenerated by cookery and boiling.

Minerals, just like vitamins, help with the body functions, such as design enzymes, carry oxygen over the body, adjust water equilibrium, cooperate in bone maturity, etc.

The central Minerals are Calcium, Potassium, Zinc, Iron, and Sodium, included in the food.

Water

Known as the essential substance. No organic process could be possible without this liquid.

In one sentence, life is impossible without water.

Water preserves body glands and membranes, avoids convulsions, adjusts body temperature regulation, transports nutrients, and oxygen.

It also serves as a lubricant, maintains tissues moistly, cuts out toxins, and prevents skin from cracking.

Consuming 2L daily can make an enormous difference in your health and will most likely help you with your fitness goal.

How do all these factors relate to the food pyramid and a healthy lifestyle?

An appropriate menu is the one that supplies sufficient nutrients according to individual requirements, and the Food Pyramid model helps to solve the crucial matters about this topic.

The Food Pyramid has been designed to present an effortless approach to nourishing healthy habits, obtaining the precise quantity of nutrients from food (proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water).

As the human body is a complicated organism, unifying the criterion for eating healthy proves valuable for making people understand.

Daily food intake for the preservation of life consists of almost 50% of cereals, 30% of veggies and fruits, 10% of protein and water, finalizing with 5% of oils.

And, those are the recommendations on the Pyramid, exactly.

This means that using the scheme as a guide to follow these factors, will result unavoidably in a benefit for our health.

This proportion added to a routine of training for at least 30 minutes per day, is essential to maintain our health and keep a minimum of fitness conditions.

Research evidence suggests that a healthy diet reduces the risk of suffering chronic diseases, a consequence of malnutrition, such as heart attack, diabetes, overweight, and high blood pressure. 

How to stay healthy in a fun way?

Fortunately, not all the topics about health are associated with illness and problems.

There are many professional coaches on the internet that shows us that self-nutrition is enjoyable.

Choosing fresh and preferably unprocessed foods, meal prepping, combining colors, textures, and smells is a pleasant way to harmonize the pair between eating and nourishment.

Unprocessed foods like potatoes, legumes, and beans are essential products to keep healthy-eating fun.

These three primary ingredients are highly nutrient-dense and can be cooked in many different ways.

Sauteed vegetables (onion, garlic, and pepper), with a bit of organic olive oil, accompanied by a raw salad, and your favorite protein are a fantastic option for lunch.

But, you can get as creative as you want!

A variety of delicious fish (salmon, sardines, or tuna) rounded by herbs, cooked on the oven for a short time, with a portion of quinoa, cucumber, and tomato salad for dinner will make you feel happy AND healthy!

Start your day with a bowl of house-made yogurt, corn natural cereal (without sugar), spread with honey, and a small plate of strawberries!

It’s a full fount of probiotics, carbs, minerals, and vitamins that fill our daily requirements, and it’s delicious!

Conclusion – Healthy Eating Food Pyramid

As you can see from the above section, options are endless when it comes to a healthy self-nutrition!

Now, you know how a food pyramid helps individuals eat a healthy diet!

With this new perspective, you can build a new lifestyle giving your body everything it needs. 

Do you have any other fun and delicious ideas?

Share in the comments, and you will be helping others achieve the healthy lifestyle we all are looking for!

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