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Food Pyramid

Using The Food Pyramid

The recommended servings of each food group are expressed in ranges so that the pyramid can fit most members of a household. The number of servings chosen from each food group is based upon the number of calories a person needs. A calorie is the amount of energy obtained from food. Most persons should always have at least the lowest number of servings for each group. In general, the low to middle numbers of servings are appropriate for most women and the middle to upper numbers of servings are appropriate for most men. Servings do not need to be measured for grain products, vegetables, and fruits but should be followed carefully when eating foods that contribute a significant amount of fat (meats, dairy, and fats used in food preparation). Persons who are dieting should reduce their fat intake and increase physical activity but not reduce the number of servings from each group.

Sample daily diets at three calorie levels:

  • Lower calorie diet. Nonactive women and some elderly persons may need a lower calorie diet (1,600 calories) comprised of: grains, six servings; vegetables, three servings; fruits, two servings; milks, two to three servings; meat, 5 oz (142 g); fat, 2 oz (53 g); and sugar, 6 teaspoons.

Food Guide Pyramid Gale Group.

  • Moderate calorie diet. Children, teenage girls, active women, pregnant or breast feeding women, and nonactive men may need a moderate calorie diet (2,200 calories) comprised of: grains, nine servings; vegetables, four servings; fruits, three servings; milks, two to three servings; meat, 6 oz (171 g); fat, 2.5 oz (73 g)s; and sugar, 12 teaspoons.
  • Higher calorie diet. Teenage boys, active men, and active women may need a high calorie diet (2,800 calories) comprised of: grains, 11 servings; vegetables, five servings; fruits, four servings; milks, two to three servings; meat, 7 oz (198 g); fat, 3 oz (93 g); and sugar, 18 teaspoons.

Children between two and six years of age can follow the food pyramid but with smaller serving sizes (about two thirds of a regular serving) and two cups of milk daily. Preschool children may need fewer than 1,600 calories and children under the age of two years have special dietary needs. A pediatrician should be consulted as to the appropriate diet for young children. Persons with special dietary needs (vegetarians, diabetics, etc.) can consult a dietician or nutritionist.


Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Ferroelectric materials to Form and matterFood Pyramid - Using the food pyramid, Food groups