Main Menu

41. What is the MyPyramid Food Guidance System?


With so many nutrient and dietary recommendations in the DRIs and the Dietary Guidelines, you may be wondering how to keep them straight and plan a diet that meets all of your nutritional needs.


Luckily, there are several carefully designed food guidance systems to help you select the best foods for your diet. Many countries have developed food guidance systems based on their food supply, cultural food preferences, and the nutritional needs of their population. Some researchers have also developed food guidance systems to help individuals reduce their risk of certain diseases. For example, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is based on an eating style that has been shown to significantly lower a person’s blood pressure. High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

MyPyramid is the most recent food guidance system released by the USDA. It visually depicts the recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and recommends the number of servings you need to consume from each food group to meet the DRIs for your nutrient needs, based on your calorie needs. In essence, MyPyramid provides a personalized diet plan based on the latest nutrition and health recommendations.

Many countries have developed their own food guidance systems. Although these food guides look very different, they have a lot in common. They all recommend a plant-based diet with plenty of grains, fruits, and vegetables, and moderate amounts of milk products, meat, poultry, and fish. Reflects the cultural preferences and foods available in each country, the overall health and nutrition messages are the same around the world.

Anatomy of MyPyramid

Individual elements of MyPyramid reinforce important concepts for planning  a healthy diet.

Physical activity. Physical activity is important on a daily basis.

Proportionality. While all food groups are important, some groups, depicted by their wider bands in the pyramid, should be consumed in larger proportions in your diet than others.

 Personalization. There are several MyPyramids available online that provide a personalized eating plan based on your needs.

 Gradual improvement. The pyramid slogan reinforces that small, gradual changes in both your diet and lifestyle can be beneficial.

Variety. The pyramid contains numerous colorful bands to encourage a diet that contains a variety of food groups.

Moderation. The wide base of the pyramid is a visual reminder that your diet should contain predominantly nutrient-rich foods with little added sugars and heart-unhealthy fats. The narrowing of the bands on the top of the pyramid reinforces that sugary food and solid fats should be consumed in moderation.


Food guidance systems – Visual diagrams that provide a variety of food recommendations to help create a well-balanced diet.

MyPyramid - A food guidance system that illustrates the recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) nutrient goals



ar bg ca zh-chs zh-cht cs da nl en et fi fr de el ht he hi hu id it ja ko lv lt no pl pt ro ru sk sl es sv th tr uk

Verse of the Day

Global Map