food pyramid, food plate, dietary advice

Picture: Feelix

Since 1916, USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center) has been recommending dietary goals for the American people.  The most recent set of recommendations were released by the USDA in 2011.  However, USDA is not the only agency recommending dietary guidelines.  There are several other agencies and companies within and outside the US that make dietary recommendations.  These alternative guidelines can be very useful if you are considering trying non-American diets.

Here is a list of dietary guidelines starting with USDA’s recommendations.

1. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 – USDA

choose my plate, dietary guidelines, food plate, USDA

Key recommendations include:  

″-  Control total calorie intake to manage body weight

 –  Focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods and beverages

  –  Increase physical activity and reduce time spent in sedentary behaviors

  –  Maintain appropriate calorie balance during each stage of life″

  2. Healthy Eating Plate, 2011 – Harvard Medical School

healthy eating plate, harvard school of public health

Key recommendations include:

″-  Make half your meal vegetables and fruits; Go for variety

–  Choose whole grains whenever you can;  Limit refined grains like white rice and white bread, because the body rapidly turns them into blood sugar

–  Pick the healthiest sources of protein, such as fish, poultry, beans, and nuts; cut back on red meat; avoid bacon, cold cuts, and other processed meats

–  Healthy oils (like olive and canola oil) are good for you

–  Drink water, tea, or coffee; Milk and dairy are not must-have foods—limit them to 1-2 servings/day; Go easy on juice and Avoid sugary drinks.

–  Stay active!

3. Healthy Weight Food Pyramid, 2011 – Mayo Clinic

healthy weight pyramid, selecting healthy foods

Key recommendations include:

″-  Balanced, nutritious diet that can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight

–  Fats: 3 to 5 daily servings

–  Protein and dairy: 3 to 7 daily servings

–  Carbs: 4 to 8 daily servings

–  Fruits: Unlimited, minimum 3 daily

–  Vegetables: Unlimited, minimum 4 daily

4. Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid – Dr Andrew Weil

Anti-Inflammatory Pyramid, Diet, Dr. Andrew Weil

Key recommendations include:

–  SUPPLEMENTS: Daily, High quality multivitamin/multimineral

–  TEA: 2-4 cups per day

–  FISH & SEAFOOD: 2-6 servings per week

–  WHOLE & CRACKED GRAINS: 3-5 servings a day

–  VEGETABLES: 4-5 servings per day minimum

–  FRUITS: 3-4 servings per day

5. Asian Diet Food Pyramid, 1995 – Oldways, Cornell-China-Oxford Project, Harvard School of Public Health

asian diet pyramid, foods, health, traditional diet

Characteristics of traditional Asian diet include:

–  Rice is staple food and a significant part of each meal of the day

–  High consumption of plant foods, including vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, and vegetable oil

–  Regional variations of commonly eaten foods include dairy and fish and seafood in the island nations or countries with extensive coastlines


6. Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid, 1993, updated in 2008- Oldways, Harvard School of Public Health, European Office of the World Health Organization

mediterranean diet pyramid, traditional diet, Eating Pattern

Characteristics of traditional Mediterranean diet include:

–  Abundance of food from plant sources

–  Emphasis on a variety of minimally processed, seasonally fresh and locally grown foods

–  Olive oil is principal fat, replacing other fats and oils

–  Daily consumption of low to moderate amounts of cheese

–  Twice-weekly consumption of low to moderate amounts of fish and poultry

–  Fresh fruit as the typical daily dessert

–  Red meat – few times per month

–  Moderate consumption of wine, normally with meals; about one to two glasses per day for men and one glass per day for women

7. Latin American Diet Food Pyramid, 1996: From Oldways

latin american diet pyramid, latino diet, oldways, health

Characteristics of Latin American diet include:

– Latin American Diet is filled with whole grain corn, vegetables, fruits, beans, rice, herbs and spices and combined with a strong emphasis on family life, to support good health


8. African Diet Food Pyramid: From Oldways

african diet pyramid, healthy eating patterns of African Heritage

Characteristics of African diet include:

–  Whole, fresh plant foods like colorful fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens

–  Tubers like yams and sweet potatoes

–  Beans of all kinds; nuts and peanuts

–  Rice, flatbreads and other grain foods, especially whole grains; healthy oils; homemade sauces and marinades of herbs and spices; fish, eggs, poultry and yogurt; and minimal consumption of meats and sweets.


9. Vegetarian Diet Food Pyramid, 1997: From Oldways

vegetarian diet pyramid, guide, healthy vegetarian eating pattern

This Vegetarian diet includes:

–  Dairy and egg

–  Plant-based diet

–  Excellent source of all the necessary nutrients (protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and all nine essential amino acids)


10. Healing Foods Pyramid, 2010: Univ. of Michigan

healing foods pyramid, 2010, beauty, variety and healing benefits

Recommendations include:

– Consume foods known to contribute to your health

–  Choose minimally processed plant foods that are known for their health benefits

–  Fill your plate with whole grains, healthy fats, and a colorful array of fruits and vegetables every day

–  Select foods that have been produced without harming our planet.

11. Vegetarian Food Pyramid, 2008: Loma Linda University

vegetarian food pyramid, guidelines for healthful diet, loma linda

Guidelines for Healthful Vegetarian Diet include:

–  Variety of plant foods in abundance

–  Emphasis on unrefined foods

–  Healthy range of fat intake

–  Adequate water and other fluids

–  Regular physical activity

–  Moderate sunlight exposure

12. Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top, 2005: Japan’s Ministry of Health

japanese food guide, well-balanced diet

Recommendations include  “well-balanced diet including daily serving sizes for grain, vegetable fish & meat, dairy and fruits.”




13. Singapore Healthy Diet Food Pyramid: Health Promotion Board

singapore healthy diet pyramid, singapore health, Healthy Food Foundation

Recommendations include:

– Eat a wide variety of food and remember to include wholegrains, fruit, vegetables and calcium-rich food

–  Select healthier food choices that are lower in salt, added sugar and fat (especially saturated and trans fat). Limit alcohol intake as well

14. Canada Food Guide, 2007: Health Canada

eat well with canada food guide, food and nutrition

Recommendation include “number of servings per day for Children, Teens and Adults for:

–  Vegetables and fruit

–  Grain products

–  Dairy

–  Meat and alternatives.”


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