Nutritionists reworking longtime guide

Everybody knows about the Food Guide Pyramid -- the U.S. Department of Agriculture's guide for good health and nutrition that's been taught in schools for years.

It is widely used in America to tell people about dietary balance and portion sizing, but is it still reliable?

  • Food Guide PyramidThe U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Guide Pyramid provides the following daily recommendations for the average person:
  • 2-3 servings of meat, eggs and nuts,
  • 2-3 servings of milk and cheese,
  • 3-5 servings of vegetables,
  • 2-4 servings of fruits,
  • 6-11 servings of grains, and
  • fats and sweets sparingly.

"It is, as we speak, being revamped. It may take until 2006. Experts in the field of nutrition and health are gathering together and talking about these issues and exploring ways of revamping the pyramid to make it more relevant and a more useful guide for the average American," says Ann Chapman, coordinator of nutrition services at Kansas University's Watkins Student Health Center.

"One of the things I have heard they have explored is putting more calorie information on it because of the obesity in this country. Maybe putting a little formula so that you can calculate how many calories you need each day."

The Food Guide Pyramid that people are familiar with is likely to change in coming years.

"It is being analyzed and updated. It's too early to really speculate about what is going to happen, but there is lots of conversation going on among registered dietitians, nutritionists and the health field," says Susan Krumm, an Extension agent in family and consumer sciences with K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County.

"Consumers get really concerned that we continue to change. But the reality is that, based on research, this is an evolving science. What we're saying today might not be absolutely true down the road."


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