The twelve pyramids
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (April 2007)|
The Twelve Pyramids is a set of 12 health and nutrition plans found in the MyPyramid Food Guidance System. They are based on age, gender and activity level. MyPyramid was created by the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and was released in 2005.
The food plans guide individuals to balance caloric intake with energy expenditure, increase intake of vitamins and other essential nutrients, and decrease intake of excess fats and sugars. In all areas, moderation is emphasized. The plans recommend increasing intake of some foods that are high in certain nutrients; therefore, it is possible that a person following the plan might consume less food energy and a more balanced diet while actually eating more food than before beginning the plan.
The plans were developed based on averages for males and females at various ages, so people with either a significantly higher or lower Body Mass Index (BMI) or a significantly larger or smaller skeletal frame may need to adjust their plans accordingly. Also, the intake levels are calculated based on a sedentary lifestyle, so adjustments must be made for people who are more active.
The food plans
The food plans under the Twelve Pyramids include a limited allowance for sweets, alcohol, or foods with very high fat content. These items are considered "discretionary intake" and are generally limited to approximately 10% of the allowed food energy per day within the limits of the appropriate plan for a person's caloric needs. The specific plans are available at the links below.
Food labeling reference table
This example of recommended amounts of various nutrients is based on a 2000 calorie (8,400 kJ) intake, for adults and children 4 or more years of age. It will be different for other plans. The calculated values for each plan should be used in parallel with the recommendations of the corresponding food pyramid.
|Nutrient||Recommended Daily Amount|
|Total Fat||65 grams|
|Saturated Fatty Acids||20 grams|
|Total Carbohydrate||300 grams|
Physical activity to expend food energy
Under the Twelve Pyramid food plans, it is strongly recommended that an individual's daily physical activity be sufficient to balance his or her caloric intake of food. The CNPP provides suggestions for incorporating physical activity, and guidelines for determining the appropriate amount of activity, in Chapter 10 of their A Healthier You publication. The activity can then be tracked at the My Pyramid Tracker website.
- http://www.mypyramid.gov - The Twelve Pyramids website