Remember the food pyramid we grew up with (far left)? Well finally after 15 years, Nutrition Australia (NA) have put 50,000 pieces of research into great use, updated it and brought it into the 21st Century (left)!
NA, Executive Officer Lucinda Hancock said “health professionals are concerned about the overwhelming amount of conflicting and confusing information about food and nutrition” I would say the changes that have been made to the pyramid make it pretty clear about what this now means for our eating habits.
How Has the Food Pyramid Changed?
It’s greener: The bottom layer now makes up the largest portion of the pyramid! Vegetables and legumes are no longer ‘lumped’ with breads and cereals and should account for 70% of our daily food! Experts have focused on green leafy veggies such as broccoli, spinach and bok choy.
Wholegrains: Carbs are not poison despite what the latest fad diet says. The new pyramid however focuses on eating nutrient dense wholegrain carbs such as quinoa, oats and brown rice as opposed to the old pyramid with grains and cereals being the ‘staple’.
Mix up your Protein: The middle layer now splits cheese/yoghurt and alternatives with meat/poultry/fish and eggs. 60% of your protein should be made up of plant-based proteins such as lentils and seeds where the remaining should be good quality meat and fish.
The Pyramid Tip is healthier: ‘Sometimes foods’ at the tip of the pyramid such as margarine has now been replaced. Ms Hancock said “The average Australian is getting a third of their daily food intake from junk food” eek… thankfully they have been replaced with the healthier fats such as olive oil, almonds and avocados. These healthy fats have vital nutrients that improve our brain function.
No added Sugar or Salt: Added Salt & Sugar now gets a big cross. The experts still endorse sugar through natural foods such as fruit but its now saying to avoid processed sugar often found in muesli bars, sports drinks and some yoghurt’s. And don’t add salt to your food until you have tasted it! Better yet – add a spice!
Some Little Extras Included:
Herbs and spices for the first time have been added which is fantastic! Not only do they add great flavour to our food but also are known to boost your metabolism and help your body burn fat!
Water, drink over and above everything else.
This is a Credible Guide
Ms Hancock says “the new Pyramid cuts through the misleading information and fad diets that are getting so much attention, and provides Australians with a credible, flexible and realistic guide to eating well”.
The Healthy Eating Pyramid is said to ‘convey the key information about how to have a nutritious diet, based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines’, but the question remains, will it make a difference to our food choices?