Traditional Food Pyramids

While the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently made strides in overhauling its Food Pyramid, government nutritional advice is still greatly watered down due to the effects of food industry lobbying, advertising, and co-opting of experts (see Marion Nestle's Food Politics). In fact, the USDA only recently began acknowledging that some foods simply aren’t healthy (e.g. those with saturated fat) and should be reduced.

The good news is that Oldways, a food issues think-tank, has developed alternative Food Pyramids based on four, centuries-old dietary traditions: Asian, Mediterranean, Latin American, and vegetarian.

These pyramids reflect the current state of global nutrition research and the understanding of what constitutes optimal nutrition. They also highlight how traditional diets are a collective cultural heritage that continue to add pleasure and well-being to modern life. Download PDFs of the pyramids at