Variations of the USDA Food Pyramid

Gretchen Becker Health Guide
  • [Humor]


    I just saw yet-another variation on the infamous USDA Food Pyramid. I've seen so many variations I can't remember what this one was about.


    But why is it that all our food advice has to come in the form of a pyramid? Do nutritionists think we're ancient Egyptians and will be impressed by the pyramid shape? Do they think I can't cope with any other shape?


    When I was a kid, we didn't have food pyramids. (I suppose by admitting this I'm giving away my age.) We had food groups. I can't remember what they were; it was never a topic I found very riveting in comparison with more exciting things like new jump rope moves or a brand new set of jacks.

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    But according to the Wonderful World of the Internet, there used to be 4 food groups: meat, grains, dairy, and fruits/vegetables. I think you were supposed to eat a few portions from each food group every day. I just ate what my mother put on my plate and then whined for dessert.


    In case there's anyone else out there who is tired of pyramids, I propose a few new food guide shapes.


    The Food Square. In this plan you divide a square up into 100 tiny boxes and write in the names of foods you enjoy. Then you eat from 10 to 100 of the foods in the boxes every day. For some strange reason, some people have difficulty losing weight when they follow the Food Square.


    The Food Oblong. This is similar to the Food Square, but with this plan you're able to eat foods with longer names.


    The Food Circle. This is a democratic nutritional plan in which every food is equidistant from the center and hence has equal desirability. By coincidence, it is easily filled by one pizza.


    The Food Parallelogram. With this plan, before you eat, you have to arrange your food into the shape of a parallelogram. Because most people haven't drawn a parallelogram since they were in the eighth grade and probably can't remember what it looks like, this will take a lot of time, and if your mealtimes are limited, you won't have much time in which to eat.


    The Food Rhombus with Sines and Cosines. This plan is similar to the Food Parallelogram, but slightly more difficult. You can eat any foods you like. But after arranging your food into a rhombus, you then draw a line from one corner to the opposite corner and calculate the sine and cosine of all the angles of the resulting triangles.


    If these numbers are greater than the glycemic index of the food, you multiply the sine and cosine by the number of calories in the food portion. If this number is less than 250, you can eat the whole portion. Otherwise you can eat only a portion equal to the cosecant divided by the glycemic load. Alternatively, you can eat chicken breast and spinach, with a green salad.


    When I tried this food plan, I ate a lot of chicken breast and spinach, with a green salad.




Published On: June 11, 2009