The Nutrition Pyramid
The Basic Food Groups Explained



The nutrition pyramid outlines the major food groups. It is designed to help people follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (the Guideline).

It promotes healthy nutrition and encourages daily exercise. The Guideline is a joint effort between the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS).

The USDA has provided food nutrition guidance dating back to the late 1800’s. In the 1950’s they released a pamphlet titled, Food For Fitness – A Daily Food Guide.


This food nutrition guide categorized the most commonly eaten foods into 4 groups (meat, dairy, grain, and fruits and vegetables).

The recommendation was general in nature advising everyone to eat one food from each group at every meal. Plain and simple.

As the decades passed, it became widely accepted that the food groups had become outdated and the nutritional recommendations were too general.

In 1992, the Food Guide Pyramid (the Pyramid) was introduced with 6 major food groups:

  1. Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta Group
  2. Vegetable Group
  3. Fruit Group
  4. Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese Group
  5. Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts Group
  6. Fats, Oils, and Sweets

See More About:

Whole Grains | Fruits | Meats and Proteins

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