The food pyramid or formally, the food guide pyramid, was developed by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a nutritional guide. The intention of a food pyramid is to provide comprehensive information regarding the types of food and the quantity of each type of food a person should consume every day for achieving optimal health standards. According to the food pyramid, there are five main food groups, which are bread and cereals, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and protein. In April 2005, the food pyramid got a makeover into "MyPyramid", the title of the new USDA nutrition advisory program. The newly introduced pyramid's appearance features a rainbow of vertical, colored stripes that is symbolic of the five major food groups, and fats and oils.
Each person can choose any one of the 12 pyramids that suits his or her dietary and health requirements. Each pyramid is designed considering your age, gender, level of physical activity and other relevant things. The different pyramids also offer you additional guidelines and suggestions. Each gives specific guidelines and suggestions as to the amount of oil you can consume, the number of servings of vegetables you will require etc. This way, each person is provided with a customized pyramid taking into account the particular person’s health needs. Exercise is also given paramount importance by the new pyramid and specifies the amount of exercise that is required for different individuals.
The new food pyramid was introduced with some much-needed changes incorporated to the older one. The new food pyramid guide is more specific when it comes to servings and age. The old food guide did not provide information regarding the servings of the constituents of the balanced diet according to the age of an individual. The old food guide adopted a generalized approach whereas the new guide is specific in terms of the dietary and exercise requirements of different people. The old food guide was less attractive to the children whereas the multi-colored approach of the new food pyramid guide makes it more appealing to children.