Understanding the Food Pyramid

Use the government's food pyramid as your guide to a better diet.

By Shannon James
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

The U.S. government's latest food pyramid has a lot to offer -- but it takes a little digging to find its hidden treasure. The good news is that, according to experts, the new guidelines themselves are quite similar to the old ones. The difference, they say, is that the pyramid's graphic form is now more representational of what those guidelines are. Read on to learn how to use the pyramid as your food guide.

Officials say they hope to make the revamped pyramid -- now decorated with a series of colored bands representing food groups -- a fixture in schools, doctors' offices, and health clinics throughout the nation. They also hope that a new emphasis on exercise and moderate eating will finally help make a dent in America's obesity epidemic, now affecting more than one-third of adults and nearly one-fifth of teens.