No one has yet come up with a definite answer to how many people were needed to build the Egyptian pyramids. Historians and Egyptologists say the number is close to 100,000; while others believe that the more realistic number is 20,000. Whoever is closer to the truth — 100,000 versus 20,000 — massive amounts of brawn and muscle produced one of the greatest wonders of the world.
The food pyramid was built the same way; instead of muscle, however, numerous brains contributed to its development. Individuals from the government and private sector, as well as from certain food lobbying groups, were called upon to devise a model that the public could use to rely upon to measure and ensure their complete dietary nutrition.
Just to give you an idea of how this “meeting of the minds” was conceived, federal regulations dictate that the panel that draws up the dietary guidelines must include experts plucked out from: pediatrics, obesity, cardiovascular disease and public health. And it doesn”t end there! Selected panelists must come under close scrutiny by organizations such as the National Dairy Council, United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, Soft Drink Association (really!), American Meat Institute, National Cattlemen”s Beef Association, and the Wheat Foods Council.
However, the 1992 food pyramid established by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), has been revamped to accurately reflect today”s lifestyles, and to stress the importance of shifting focus towards more acceptable quantities of what nutritionists call “healthy foods
The government”s “My Pyramid” is based on the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which features three basic concepts:
1. consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and dairy products
2. incorporating lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts into our daily diet
3. lowering the amount of saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and sugars
The new food pyramid serves as an interactive food guidance system. Its underlying principle is the emphasis on weight control and daily exercise, two concepts that were conspicuously absent from the old food pyramid. Key parameters were also integrated into the revised scheme to guide individuals in choosing those foods that qualify for sound nutrition.
Key Parameters of the Governments New “My Pyramid” Model
· gradual improvement — a reminder that diet and lifestyle goals are achieved not by one giant step, but by small, gradual steps
· physical activity —the pyramid conveys the “engage in exercise” idea for a healthier mind and body
· variety — different color bands represent the five food groups
· moderation — foods with little or no solid fats occupy a wider base in the pyramid, and must be selected more frequently
· proportionality — different widths show how much food a person should eat from each group.
Specific Recommendations in the New Food Pyramid
To help illustrate how the new pyramid works (the government calls this “MyPyramid”), let”s invent someone and call her Jane Smith. Going to https://www.mypyramid.gov/, if we click on “MyPyramid”, a dialogue box will appear and ask us to fill in Ms. Smith”s particulars. We enter female, age 30, and 30-60 minutes of exercise most days of the week. When we submit this information into “MyPyramid”, here”s the recommendation for a 2000-calorie per day diet:
· grains — 6 ounces
· vegetables — 2-1/2 cups
· fruits — 2 cups
· milk — 3 cups
· meat and beans — 5.5 ounces
For each category above, the web site offers a section on tips.
The guide also says, that “this calorie level is only an estimate of one”s needs”. Obviously, care will need to be taken to adjust the recommendations to fit one”s unique lifestyle and nutritional needs
As you explore the new food pyramid/MyPyramid, remember that the Egyptian pyramids weren”t built in a day (even if you believe that aliens built them, it probably took them a few days…what with breaks and all). So if you”re rebuilding a healthier you, don”t expect overnight success. Incorporating the wisdom of the food pyramid is a long-term commitment; yet, happily, with long-term results as well!