New food pyramid gets personal

By Diane Palmer

New USDA Food Guide PyramidThe new USDA Food Guide Pyramid includes a figure climbing up the side as a subtle suggestion that Americans should get off the couch and get moving if they want to slim down.

“For the first time, the pyramid includes recommendations for physical activity,” said Katherine Cason, Clemson food scientist. “Food is still categorized by food groups, but how much of each food group you should eat depends on your age, gender, activity level and how many calories you need for a healthy weight.”

The USDA developed the new food guide and slogan, “Steps to a Healthier You,” to combat the growing problems of obesity, poor nutrition and lack of fitness for many Americans. The new guide suggests a diet of grains, fruits, oils, milk, meat and beans each day, but how much of each depends on your age, gender and activity level. Oils are included for the first time because research shows that vegetable oils and some fish oils contain fatty acids that are important for health.

“Many Americans can dramatically improve their overall health by making modest improvements to their diets and by incorporating regular physical activity into their daily lives,” said Cason.

For more information: Katherine Cason or