Choosing a Food Pyramid

Various governments around the world, including the United States and Canadian governments have constructed guidelines for healthy eating for its citizens. Now here comes the tricky part. Whereas there used to be just one food guide pyramid called the USDA Food Guide Pyramid there are now several types including the Mediterranean Pyramid, the Vegetarian Pyramid and the Asian Pyramid. The challenge is now to help you figure out which one is best for you.

If you need help on choosing the type of food pyramid that is ideal for your health the United States government has a very detailed site at that helps you choose your optimum diet by giving you an online questionnaire to fill out. This questionnaire helps analyze the lifestyle, food preferences and cultural factors that may be affecting your overall health and helps you choose the diet pyramid that is best for you.

On this site you will also find the typical USDA Food Guide Pyramid (which is also reproduced below.) This pyramid, which was revised in 1991, features six to eleven servings of bread a day as the bulk of the food that is eaten – followed by vegetables and fruits as the next major food group and then proteins such as milk and poultry. However this is not necessarily best food pyramid when it comes to eating an anti-aging diet, as it is heavy on potentially aging carbohydrates in the form of bread. It is also lower on protein then most aging experts would like.

More and more diet experts have determined that the Mediterranean diet is much healthier food pyramid when it comes to preventing aging.

The Mediterranean food pyramid is forty percent higher in fat than the U.S. Food Pyramid. The key is that the fats are from heart healthy sources –in particular olive oil.

This food pyramid diet is inspired by the lifestyle practiced daily on the Greek island of Crete where people live longer than any other populations in the world. it is widely recognized that the rates of chronic diseases were lowest in the world in Mediterranean culture and that adult life expectancy was high despite limited medical services. This pyramid was created in 1960 when researchers first began to notice that people from Mediterranean cultures just seemed to be thriving compared to their North American counterparts.

Studies conducted over the past few decades have concluded that the people from these cultures are also twenty percent less likely to die of coronary artery disease than Americans. The citizens of these Latin countries also have one third less cancer than citizens in the U.S. which nutritionists often attribute to the generous amount of antioxidants and phytochmeicals that are naturally contained in all of the fruits and vegetables in the diet.

There have been lots of studies and research done to support the idea that the Mediterranean Food Pyramid is much healthier for you than other types of eating schemes.

For instance, one French study assigned 600 heart attack survivors to follow either a Mediterranean diet or a regimen similar to the one recommended by the U.S. Government. Both diets reduced cholesterol levels by comparable amounts, only eight new heart attacks occurred over the next two years in the Mediterranean group, compared to thirty three occurrences in the U.S. Food Pyramid group.