May 12, 2005 | By: Aimee Nielson
LEXINGTON, Ky.

The United States Department of Agriculture recently released a new version of the Food Guide Pyramid many Americans use as a guideline to daily nutrition. The new concept is more than just a new symbol.

University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Extension Food and Nutrition Specialist Janet Tietyen believes the new customizable pyramid is a step in the right direction because one size does not fit all when it comes to dietary guidelines.

“The new pyramid is based on age, gender and physical activity level,” she said. “It’s very practical and it allows adjustments for different phases of life.”

For example, recommendations for a 30-year-old woman with moderate activity of 30 to 60 minutes per day would be 2,000 calories per day broken into 6 ounces of grains, 2.5 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit, 3 cups of milk and 5.5 ounces of meat and beans. In contrast, a 30-year-old male with the same activity level has a 2,600-calorie allowance, including 9 ounces of grains, 3.5 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit, 3 cups of milk and 6.5 ounces of meat and beans.

“The new recommendations also advise making half of your grains whole grains,” Tietyen said. “It also emphasizes variation in vegetables. Make sure to include a variety of colors in your vegetable choices each week. The milk recommendation includes nearly all dairy options, and those with lactose intolerance can choose lactose-free variations of their favorites.”

Internet users can visit http://www.mypyramid.gov to generate their own personal pyramid and individual recommendations based on information the user enters. Users also may register at the site to track their progress and access helpful tips and assessments of their food intake and physical activity levels.

“It’s important to give people the tools they need to meet the new guidelines,” Tietyen said. “The pyramid Web site will do that. It shows people where they are and where they need to be and gives them a realistic way of reaching their goals.”

Tietyen said the daily physical activity requirements may seem overwhelming at first.

“If you try to do 60 to 90 minutes of activity at once, you may get discouraged,” she said. “But when you realize you can split that up during the day with normal activities like walking from your car to work, using the stairs, taking walks during breaks or gardening at home, you can see how quickly those minutes can add up.”

Contact: 

Editor: Aimee Nielson 859-257-4736, ext. 267

Contact: Janet Tietyen 859-257-1812