The Food Pyramid

A food pyramid is a particular graph designed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that illustrates the food advice and suggestions that the human being should follow in order to maintain good health. The first official Malaysian dietary guidelines were published in 1999 and were revised and launched in 2010. The dietary guidelines were developed by a Technical Working Group on Nutritional Guidelines, part of the National Coordinating Committee for Food and Nutrition, Ministry of Health Malaysia. The guidelines are endorsed by the Ministry of Health and they are directed at the general public over 2 years of age.

The Role of the Food Pyramid

As a tool to effectively communicate which and how many foods should preferably be eaten during a week, and in what proportions, the nutritional model uses the figure of the pyramid. Describing a set of nutritional rules does not necessarily mean giving quantitative indications, i.e. portions, calories or percentages of macronutrients. Instead, it is often just qualitative claims, such as giving preference to one type of food over another.

The Food Guide:

The Malaysian food pyramid is divided into four levels corresponding to six food groups. Divided into different sections of different sizes, the base of the pyramid takes up more space than the others and contains those elements that, according to the USDA, should be consumed more and more often. As you climb the steps of the pyramid, the sections become smaller and smaller and contain those classes of food that you are advised to consume less and more rarely over time.

  • Starting from the bottom, the lowest and largest step of the pyramid is occupied by cereals and derivatives: prioritize whole grains and consume them in adequate quantities.

  • In the next step, you find fruit and vegetables: you can eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day.

  • In the next block, above the fruit and vegetables, you can see milk, dairy products, meat, fish and eggs: the space in this block is quite limited. Consumption in moderate quantities is recommended.

  • The top of the pyramid is reserved for sugars and fats which, if consumed in large quantities, are highly harmful to health. Limit intake of foods high in fats and minimize fats and oils in food preparation.

OTHER TIPS:

• Pick and prepare less salted foods and sauces;

• Eat food and drink low in sugar;

• Drink plenty of water every day;

• Eat nutritious, and healthy foods and beverages;

• Make good use of food label nutrition information;

• Be physically active every day;

Enjoy your meals staying healthy!

The Smartbite Team

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