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How To Understand the USDA Food Pyramid

The USDA food pyramid is a carefully designed educational tool for improving the nation's diet. Follow these steps to tap its full potential.


  • TIP: includes interactive tools to help you create a personalized diet plan.
  • Step 1: Build a better you one step at a time. Make gradual improvements in your diet and lifestyle.
  • FACT: According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 34 percent of Americans are obese.
  • Step 2: Eat what's right for you. The "MyPryamid" title reminds you to eat a balance of foods appropriate for your lifestyle.
  • Step 3: Exercise every day. The steps up the pyramid's side encourage you to engage in physical activity.
  • Step 4: Get variety in your diet. The different colored stripes remind you to eat something from each food group every day.
  • Step 5: Eat the right amounts from each food group. The varied widths of the stripes represent proportion. Eat more from the groups with the wider stripes.
  • Step 6: Eat less of foods that contain added sugar or solid fats. These foods are represented by the narrowing stripes at the top to remind you to eat these foods in moderation.
  • Step 7: Learn the basic ideas behind the new food pyramid at

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