The USDA food pyramid is designed to supply information for appropriate nutrition having to do with grains, meats, dairy, fruits and sugars. The information given by the food guide pyramid is illustrated with a diagram using color coded segments in the shape of a pyramid and based on the 4 food groups with an additional segment for sweets. Suggestions made by the food pyramid chart are based on an individual's gender, frequency of activity and age.
The USDA has also put out new food pyramids encompassing different cultural and ethnic dietary choices. Food pyramid diagrams have been designed specifically for Native American diets, Asian diets, Mediterranean diets, and Spanish diets, food pyramids for elderly persons and food pyramids for kids. The USDA has also provided a food pyramid for persons newly living in the United States and a vegetarian food pyramid.
The American Diabetes Association has created a diabetes food pyramid to advise diabetics on their best resources for nutrition and regulation of blood sugars and insulin.
The Association recommends eating a wide variety of grains, the largest part of the pyramid. Grains, beans, and starches provide foods with lower caloric content that also possess many vitamins and other nutrients.
Food pyramid diagrams are color coded. Orange for grains, blue for milk, red for fruits, green for vegetables, and purple for meats and beans and yellow for oils and sweets. There are 12 different versions of the food pyramid, each one catering to age group and physical activity. The pyramid suggests 2 cups of fruit, 6 ounces of grain, 3 cups of milk, up to 3 cups of vegetables with a small amount of oils and sweets. Fats, salt and sugars are what the USDA suggests people eat less of, while eating more grains as the have fewer calories and provide needed fiber and nutrition.