Yes, our food pyramid has been sneakily overhauled while no-one was looking (most likely when we were off buying cactus water or giving into some other unusual food trend). But change is good, and seeing how our food pyramid has remained the same for the last two decades – despite our bodies and diets evolving and changing – it’s a welcomed reshuffle.
Green vegetables and fruit have taken centre stage in the latest health update, unlike the old pyramid (pictured below) which placed a heavy emphasis on complex carbohydrates like bread and potatoes as the dominant food group. Foods high in fats like butter have essentially been cut from the new pyramid; with more attention given to portion size as opposed to larger quantities (for example, the old pyramid shows a block of butter in comparison to the much smaller portion advertised on the new pyramid).
the old food pyramid
In a nutshell, here’s what the new pyramid involves according to SafeFood.eu; plenty of fruit and vegetables, plenty of bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and cereals – going for the wholegrain varieties whenever you can, some milk, cheese and yoghurt, some meat, poultry, eggs, beans and nuts, a very small amount of fats and oils, and a very small amount or no food and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt.
the new food pyramid
According to the Minister of State for Health Promotion Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, the new pyramid “provides a suite of resources for dietitians, health professionals and teachers. In the months ahead, we will provide additional training resources for healthy eating. We need to place a greater emphasis on prevention – and a healthy diet is essential for better health and wellbeing”.
But why are meats and fish still placed so high on the scale? While these food groups are not well-represented on the pyramid, some health professionals believe in the need for fats and oils in our diet and that we should instead follow the Cambridge food pyramid which consists of higher levels of fat, lean meat and protein – but it’s still largely controversial.
The Irish food pyramid mirrors the Harvard food pyramid which pioneered the original idea. But at the end of the day – pyramid or no pyramid – isn’t life all about the balance. Now, celary for breakfast, anyone?