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New” Food Pyramid”: the Mediterranean Diet as a sustainable model.

Drink water, eat not only cereals but also two or three portions of fruit and vegetables every day, limiting the consumption of meat. These are just some of the indications of the updated food pyramid.

The food pyramid is an intuitive way to explain which foods, in what quantities and how often it is best to eat. In the lowest step of the pyramid there are the foods that theoretically should be “at the base” of our daily diet while, as you go up towards the top, those to be consumed in moderation are indicated. The first version of the food pyramid dates back to 1992 and was developed in the United States to combat growing obesity. Over the years, however, the various discoveries in the nutritional field have forced a revision of some principles. In fact, in the new food pyramid, compared to the previous one, a few things change, let’s see which ones.

“New” food pyramid, what changes.
In the version proposed in 2009 by the National Research Institute for Food and Nutrition (Inran), cereals no longer occupy the lowest rung alone, but share the base with fruit and vegetables. This means that in every main meal the following foods must be present: 1-2 portions of fruit, 1-2 portions of vegetables and 1-2 portions of bread, pasta, rice, etc. The second change concerns fats. In the past, both the saturated ones (such as butter) and those of vegetable origin were relegated to the tip of the pyramid, while in the new pyramid extra virgin olive oil has changed places, occupying one of the lower steps. In fact, nutritionists recommend daily use, albeit in moderation. Always daily 2-3 portions of milk or its derivatives should be eaten, 1-2 portions of dried fruit and also herbs and aromatic plants to flavor the dishes without exceeding with salt. Going to the top of the new food pyramid, you also come across fish, legumes, eggs, cured meats, meat and sweets. Weekly consumption of these is recommended.

Drinking water is essential for a healthy diet.
Another great novelty concerns the first block at the base of the pyramid, inside which now also stands the words “drink water”. Even before the reference to water intake, the importance of physical activity, the conviviality of meals, the use of local and seasonal products is remembered. Wine is allowed in moderation. These last three aspects are not directly connected with weight loss or the maintenance of the figure, but they are a way to reaffirm that food is also a bearer of cultural as well as gastronomic values.

Mediterranean diet as a model to follow and adapt.
A new proposal to update the food pyramid was put forward in 2016 by the International Foundation of Mediterranean Diet (Ifmed), at the first World Conference on the Mediterranean Diet which was held at Palazzo Lombardia in Milan. The basic idea is that, in evaluating what it is good to eat or not, we must not only think about the health of the individual, but also that of the planet. Ifmed’s intent is therefore to provide a unified representation of the Mediterranean Diet as a sustainable and representative food model for the entire Mediterranean area, to be adapted for each country to its own contexts and traditional cuisine.

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