The old food pyramid was developed in the early nineties to address the nutritional requirement of the body. It was represented in a graphical way to make it easy to understand. Obviously, the foods that formed the base of the pyramid were to be consumed in a higher dose, as compared to that placed in the upper portion of the food pyramid.
The old food pyramid had four layers and each of the layers depicted the following food groups.
- The Cereal and Rice Food Group. This group is placed at the bottom of the old food pyramid and hence should form the maximum portion of our daily intake of food. They are mostly the foods that contain carbohydrates that are an essential ingredient for the body.
- The Fruits and Vegetables Group. This forms the second group of the old food pyramid and they supply the body all the vital nutrients and minerals. Both leafy and non-leafy vegetables are included in this. Similarly, both citric and non-citric foods are to be included in the diet. 2 to 2.5 cups each of the vegetables and fruits are recommended.
- The Meat and Dairy Products. The meat and the dairy products are the source of protein and have been placed in the third tier of the food pyramid. While the dairy products are placed on the one side of it, the other side contains the meat and beans. 2 to 3 servings of these products are recommended.
- Fats and Oils. Consuming fats and oils, though essential for the body, in excess amount is not good for the body. Hence along with sweets they have been placed at the top of the food pyramid. The vegetable oil is preferred to any other oil.
These form the main facets of the old food pyramid and are developed in order to come up with a balanced diet. Later some modifications were done catering to the changing food habits and lifestyles of people.