The Food Pyramid

The USDA food pyramid provides information about proper daily nutritional intake of whole grains (three ounces), vegetables (orange and dark green), fresh fruits, dairy (calcium rich milk, especially), meats and beans (lean) and a small amount of oils (from fish, nuts and vegetables) in the form of a color coded segment diagram. There are 12 variations of the food pyramid according to gender, frequency of exercise and age.

New food pyramids have been designed by the USDA to account for vegetarianism, cultural and ethnic dietary choices (such as Native American diets, Asian diets, Mediterranean diets, and Spanish diets) and age (such as elderly diets and kid diets).

The American Diabetes Association has formulated a diabetes food pyramid to aid diabetics in regulating blood sugar and insulin through a specific nutritional diet. A wide variety of grains is recommended as well by the ADA as beans and starches that are packed with vitamins and nutrients but low in caloric content.