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The New Food Pyramid

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Nutrition Australia has just updated the Healthy Eating Pyramid to reflect changing dietary patterns and stop the confusion caused by fad diets.  

It is based on the revised Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013) and encourages us to enjoy a variety of foods from the five food groups and provides general advice about the types and proportions of foods we should aim to eat each day.

The new pyramid separates each layer into the five core food groups plus healthy fats. This provides clearer information about how much each food group contributes to a balanced diet.

The foundation layer includes the plant-based food groups: vegetables, legumes, fruits and wholegrains and makes up the largest portion of the pyramid. We should aim for 70% of our food intake to be made up of plant-based foods due to their wide variety of nutrients.

The middle layer includes protein foods (lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes) and dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese and alternatives) and should be consumed in moderate amounts.

The top layer refers to healthy fats since we need small amounts every day for heart health and brain function. We should avoid trans fats and limit saturated fats.

The pyramid reminds us to limit our intake of salt and added sugar.  We should aim to cook our own meals and avoid adding sugar and salt.  Choosing fresh whole foods and minimising processed and packaged foods will help to limit the amount of salt and sugar consumed.

The pyramid encourages you to make water your drink of choice and enjoy herbs and spices to add flavour to food. 

Unfortunately the majority of Australians do not eat well, with more than a third of our daily intake coming from junk food and only seven percent eating enough vegetables.  The main message Nutrition Australia are hoping to get across is to cut down on junk food and sugary drinks and eat mostly from the core groups, especially vegetables and fruit.

Follow the Healthy Eating Pyramid and make better food choices to take control of your health.

© Copyright The Australian Nutrition Foundation Inc, 3rd edition, 2015

Melissa Watson

Melissa Watson is a Health and Wellness Coordinator for Sonic HealthPlus.