Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Interesting, the Useless, and the Awful: Food Pyramids from Around the World

The USDA (my employer) and HHS released the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans very recently - I haven't read it so I can't offer much comment, but here are initial takes by one or two of the blogs I try to read regularly.

In celebration of this event, I want to present some of the more striking food pyramids from around the world, as compiled by Good. First, here's the U.S. food pyramid, for comparison:

Though the design is different, I find Canada's food rainbow to be most like the U.S.'s current food pyramid, in that both are probably undermined by their subtlety:

Here's Germany's food pyramid, though it should properly be seen online, where you can rotate it in 3-D:

Though it's an impressive production, it strikes me as too complicated to be of much use to most people.

Next up, we have Britian's food plate - an interesting idea, showing what the British government thinks should be the proportions of food served at a given meal, but I think it might also be too abstract to do much good:

Hungary has a special place in my heart, since I lived there for several years, but their food house is just pathetic - not only does it offer no information whatsoever, it looks like it was created by a 6 year old in Microsoft Paint. I hope they redo this monstrosity sometime soon:

The French opt for steps instead of a pyramid:

I like Haiti's food circle a lot - not only does it clearly show what to eat, but it also shows (in great generality, admitedly) what different foods do for your body - protect (lock), build (house), and give energy (fire):

And now, my two favorites. First up, the Swiss, which I like because it includes a lot of water and emphasizes eating tons of vegetables:

And finally, my favorite, the Greek pyramid, because it features wine, olive oil, and nuts on the food pyramid as separate sections, emphasizes eating lots of fish, and only includes non-refined grains:

Happy cooking/eating to all, and to all a good night.


  1. I preferred those that promoted a higher consumption in fruits/vegetables than grains/cereals/staples .e.g the Swiss, French & Canada. I'm with you on the German 3d model, that is one complex structure

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