Fitness is never complete without a nutritional touch. That’s why it is advisable to have a healthy food pyramid in your diet. Simply put, a food pyramid is of recommended foods in the form of a pyramid.
The pyramid is divided into sections with each of the sections representing certain food groups. As the pyramid progresses upward, the food group represented should be taken minimally. It represents food from the main food groups only. It is based on modern science to determine food use in the body. You therefore eat more of what your body wants and less of what the body does not need. It however keeps on oscillating as advances in nutrition are made. You should there keep on updating your food guide pyramid every now and then.
Components of a food pyramid
A complete food guide pyramid should guide you to fitness and in your intake of healthy foods in the right proportions. It is composed of:
Four levels each with a specific food group. The foods in the food group will be indicated as explained later here.
Food servings: this shows the specific amount of food to be taken at each level of the pyramid. Servings are normally in form of cups or in grams.
It is important to note that food pyramids represent various ages. You can use one for each specific age group or have a general food pyramid with a difference in the services indication. A general food pyramid will have food serving indication for each age group.
Understanding the food pyramid
A food pyramid is divided into four sections from the bottom moving up. Each section indicates a specific food class. Generally, here is how to interpret the food pyramid-from the bottom to top:
- Level 1
Moving or walking consumes a lot of energy and hence kilojoules are wasted. Most of the food that are not utilized will be converted to fats and stored below the skin. This will create weight very fast and may lead to obesity. This level reminds us to move or walk more to reduce the risk of gaining weight. It is usually indicated as ‘move more’.
- Level 2
This is the first level indicating foods. It may be indicated as ‘eat more’; meaning you should eat lots of food from this food group. It is a section of plant foods which include vegetables, cereals, fruits, lentils, bread and nuts. These are nutritious foods that provide the body with the much needed energy from sugars, vitamins, proteins, minerals and dietary roughages. Besides this level a tap symbol is indicated to symbolize water. You should take at least seven glasses of water per day while children should take at least four glasses daily.
- Level 3
This is referred to as the middle pyramid. Foods in this food group should be eaten moderately. This level is made up of animal foods only which include eggs, meat, fish, milk and milk products and chicken. These foods supply the body with proteins, minerals and some vitamins.
- Level 4
This is the topmost level and is made up of sugars and fats. This food should be consumed in minimal amounts as they are less in nutrients needed by the body to carry out various functions. The pyramid also advocates that salt should be avoided.
Importance of using a food pyramid
It is a perfect tool in managing your weight as it helps you avoid calories.
Reduces food wastage as you only take what the body uses.
It indicates the specific amount of food you should take.
If you strictly follow your healthy food pyramid, you are guaranteed of minimizing lots of nutritional disorders well as lifestyle diseases.