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New food pyramid


Ah, finally, we come to an overall picture. Now we can start getting to some meal planning tips, mainly targeted at those with diabetes and pre-diabetes. However, some of these suggestions can work for those of you trying to lose a few pounds or just make a few healthy changes to your diet.{{more}}

The food pyramid, as you recall from First Form health class, provides the basic guidelines for the daily make up of our diets. One of the most helpful developments over the past few years has been the recognition that one-size-does-not-fit all in terms of this pyramid. In addition, some general changes were made to the pyramid to update it in terms of modern day diets and what we now know about nutrition. Much of the information presented in this week’s article is derived from the American Diabetes Association website(

Why do we need a special diabetes food pyramid? Well, as we discussed over the past few weeks, a diabetic diet is different in the way it looks at food. Not only do you want to maximize nutritious, healthy foods and limit fatty foods, but people with diabetes need to make a special effort to look at their carbohydrate intake. So the main difference between this pyramid and the one used by your neighbour who does not have diabetes is that some foods will be in different categories because of carbohydrate or protein content. An example would be potatoes: in the non-diabetes food pyramid it falls under the category of “vegetable”, but in the diabetes food pyramid it is considered a “grain” because it is high in carbohydrates. Some of the recommended serving sizes are also different in order to account for the carbohydrate content.

Another point: the servings are given as a range. Most people fall somewhere along the middle of the range. Women tend to be at the lower end and men nearer the upper end. Your target will depend on the amount of calories you plan on eating per day, if you want to lose or maintain weight, your activity level and what you like to eat. This week we will start with the biggest group, Grains:

Grains-6-11 servings per day. Again, remember that most people DO NOT fall into the higher end of the range, especially those with diabetes. Aim for somewhere in the middle if you can. Servings should be spread out during the day instead of eaten at one sitting. This will also help even out blood sugar changes during the day.

One(1) serving=

1 slice of bread
3/4 cup of dry cereal( no sugar added please)
1/2 cup of cooked cereal(like farine, cream of wheat, oatmeal)-again, stop adding sugar
1/2 cup of potato or yam
1/2 cup of peas, corn or cooked beans
1 cup of pumpkin

Start taking a look at your plate this weekend and pay attention to the portion sizes and how you spread food throughout the day. Next week, we will continue the rest of the pyramid. Until then!

Anita Ramsetty, MD
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group
Tel: 843-798-4227