Nutrition Australia has updated the food pyramid for the first time in 15 years and, while the basic structure is the same, there are some surprises in store.
The new food pyramid has been designed to combat the rise of DIY food experts and the wealth of often confusing information on the internet about healthy eating.
Executive Officer of Nutrition Australia Victoria, Lucinda Hancock, says, “The new Pyramid cuts through the misleading information and fad diets that are getting so much attention, and provides Australians with a credible, flexible and realistic guide to eating well”.
Previous versions of the food pyramid grouped foods into three categories – eat most (fruit,vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes), eat moderately (dairy, meat and other proteins) and eat sparingly (fats and sugars).
Today’s pyramid is far clearer, with the five major food groups divided into four layers. Plant-based foods such as, fruit, vegetables and legumes make up the largest layer; followed by grains; then small amounts of dairy and proteins, including lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and lentils; and finally small amounts of healthy fats, such as olive oil.
Notable changes are the compete absence of sugar, the fact that only healthy fats are included in the top layer, and plant foods making up the bulk of the diet rather than grains, which is how the older versions were often interpreted.
One message Nutrition Australia is pushing with this new food pyramid is loud and clear: there is no room in a healthy diet for junk food.
“The latest health survey data shows the average Australian is getting more than a third of their daily energy intake from junk foods, while less than seven per cent of people eat enough vegetables and only half of us eat enough fruit,“ says Ms Hancock.
“We want to get the message across that for most people the simplest way to eat healthier is to cut down on junk food and sugary drinks and to eat mostly from the core food groups – especially to eat more fruit and vegetables”.
Fad diets, sugar and transfats might be out, but Nutrition Australis is keeping up with the times. Tofu, soy milk, quinoa and coconut oil are all included in the updated food pyramid.
The pyramid has been used as the key healthy eating education tool for Nutrition Australia since the 1980s.
What do you think of the new healthy eating pyramid? Does it make it easier for your to make the right choices?