by Jonell Galloway
The Americans aren’t the only ones who have a Food Pyramid!
In our 9 May 2009 post A fun, interactive guide for teaching your children good eating habits, we referred only to the American food pyramid, because the US has a pyramid specifically aimed at children. But the Swiss have a food pyramid too!
The Swiss food pyramid, published on 30 July 2007, is for the general population, and has quite a different slant from the new American pyramid that came out earlier this year (literally, because the new American one is vertical, while the Swiss one is horizontal, but the content also differs).
Differences between Swiss food pyramid and U.S. food pyramid
The Swiss food pyramid does not follow the trend in the US and other countries of decreasing intake of saturated fats. In fact, it increases fat intake from 30 to 40 percent and lowers carbohydrates from 60 to 45 percent, says Med Journal Watch, saying that mother’s milk is high in saturated fat, and “fats have been said to be harmful for the heart, but the heart takes 60 to 90 percent of its energy out of fat.” According to Paolo C. Colombani, head of the Swiss food pyramid expert group, in an article in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, “the vast majority of published studies in the past fifty years have shown no adverse effects of saturated fats.”
This contrasts with the US pyramid, which allows from 20 to 35 percent of a day’s calories in fat.
This is not the only difference. The Swiss pyramid does not discriminate between good and bad foods, but instead emphasizes the importance of having as varied a diet as possible. The basic principle is common sense as much as exact calculation: moderation with pleasure, sufficient amounts, remembering the “5 colors,” like most pyramids of this type .
They even go as far as to say that these recommendations do not have to be followed every day, but should serve as a general guideline.
The only “must” is the daily intake of fluids, where they recommend drinking one to two liters of liquid per day, preferably in the form of water or fruit and herb teas (don’t forget, fruit is full of water).
The other thing that sets it apart from some other food pyramids is that it emphasizes the importance of at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, preferably outdoors. Numerous studies have demonstrated the advantages of outdoor sports over indoor ones, so this is not surprising.
More fat keeps you warm in the mountains and outdoor sports are an integral part of traditional Swiss life, so is the Swiss pyramid adapted to the Swiss lifestyle? If so, it is indeed in line with new trends, which are de-emphasizing quick-fix diets and emphasizing overall lifestyle changes, in particular outdoor sports.
This article was originally published on GenevaLunch.