Hands up if you remember the food pyramid from your school days?
Well now – thanks to an Australian organisation which promotes nutrition – the humble food pyramid has had something of a revamp and boasts a whole host of new (hipster-approved) foods including quinoa and soy milk.
Much to the dismay of cake fans everywhere, it has also banned added sugar completely.
Nutrition Australia hope the food pyramid revamp will “combat growing nutrition confusion and risky fad diets”.
In the past, the food pyramid grouped food into three layers and highlighted the importance of eating lots of fruit, vegetables, grains and nuts; while limiting the number of dairy foods and meat; and only consuming a tiny amount of added fats, oils and sugars.
The newer version, however, boasts four layers and – reflective of our more refined dietary choices – includes soy milk, quinoa and tofu.
It is essentially Australia’s answer to the ‘Eatwell Plate’ by Public Health England, which shows how to maintain a balanced diet.
Lucinda Hancock from Nutrition Australia, said: “Our pyramid doesn’t have an allowance for added sugars – I’m talking about sugars from processed foods.”
However natural sugars are fine.
The foundation layers of the new pyramid include three plant-based food groups: vegetables and legumes, fruits and grains. These make up the largest portion of the pyramid because “plant foods should make up the largest portion of our diet – around 70% of what we eat”.
Hancock adds that with the grains group, it is best to choose mostly whole grains (such as brown rice, oats and quinoa), and wholemeal/wholegrain varieties of bread, pasta, crisp breads and cereal foods.
The middle layer of the pyramid includes dairy products as well as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds.
“Foods in the milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives group primarily provide us with calcium and protein, plus other vitamins and minerals,” says the Nutrition Australia website.
“This food group also refers to non-dairy options such as soy, rice or cereal milks which have at least 100mg per 100ml of added calcium. Choose reduced fat options of these foods to limit excess kilojoules from saturated fat.”
The site adds that foods in the lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes section are the main sources of protein, while also providing a unique mix of nutrients, including iodine, iron, zinc, B12 vitamins and healthy fats.
“We should aim to have a variety of meat and non-meat options from this food group,” the website states.
Finally, the top layer of the food pyramid refers to “healthy fats” because these are still important for supporting heart and brain health.
“We should choose foods that contain healthy fats instead of foods that contain saturated fats and trans fats,” says the site.
“Choose unrefined polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats from plant sources, such as extra virgin olive oil, nut and seed oils. Limit the amount of saturated fat you consume and avoid trans fats.”