Healthy Living Pyramid explained

Nutrition Australia has released its new Healthy Living Pyramid.

In a society that’s regularly bombarded with the latest fad diets and eating plans designed to help people lose weight, Nutrition Australia has stepped up and delivered a brand new healthy living pyramid that may help to eliminate any confusion about the definition of healthy eating.

The pyramid was originally designed in the 80s as a visual aid to suggest recommended dietary intake. The new guidelines are based on extensive reviews of some 55,000 research papers. The last update of Australia’s food pyramid was 15 years ago.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, and could even mean a few thousand less calories per day. Here are some key points based on the pyramid, which may help you crack the code for healthier living.

Healthy Eating Pyramid

Vegetables, legumes and fruit

Plant-based foods, such as vegetables, legumes and fruit, now occupy the main layer at the bottom of the pyramid, and are seen as the most important part of a daily diet. According to nutritionists, plant-based foods should make up a 70 per cent portion of our diet.

A diet that includes unprocessed plant foods lowers your risk of developing cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Plus, plant foods are high in fibre, which helps us to feel satisfied, making them ideal foods for those trying to maintain a healthy weight. It’s also highly recommended that we eat more vegetables than fruit.

Whole grains over carbs

Whilst we do need do need carbs in our diet, the new pyramid recommends reducing the amount of foods.

When choosing carbohydrate-based foods, it’s recommended that we eat mostly whole grains, such as brown rice, oats and quinoa, and eat less processed grains such as white bread, pasta and processed breakfast cereals. The best breads are dense and include a multitude of grains. It’s also best to choose wholemeal pasta and breakfast cereals such as porridge made from traditional oats, and unprocessed cereals such as natural muesli.


It is recommended that you aim for a variety of meat and non-meat options when choosing a source of protein, because each alternative provides different nutritional value. Milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives for protein are also very important for the calcium (needed for healthy bones, muscles and nerves) as well as other necessary vitamins and minerals.

Good fats

Whilst existing evidence suggests that we limit the amount of saturated fat in our diet, not all fats are bad. In fact, good fats are essential for healthy brain function. Choose plant oils, such as olive oil and canola, which are rich in unsaturated fats. Healthy fats can also be found in foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds and fish. And where possible, stay away from butter and margarine.

Salt and added sugar

Recent research by UK professor Tim Spector found that junk food kills the healthy gut bacteria that help to keep people thin. Too much salt and added sugar is also linked to increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. So, it’s best not to add salt when cooking or eating and avoid processed or packaged foods, such as junk food or fast food, which is high in added sugars and salt.

Drink more water

Sweeteners found in fizzy drinks also have adverse effects on metabolism which can lead to weight gain. So, when hydrating, stay away from sugary soft drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks.

What do you think of the new food pyramid?

Read more about the Healthy Living Pyramid at Nutrition Australia.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    20th May 2015
    Makes sense. If people eat fresh....and avoid all the regular take aways: excessive sodium, sugars, additives, colorants: well, they will not need to detox as they are eating well. Many have become too lazy and, great gluttons: I see kids eating chocs, sweets, drinking all sort of sodas and colas on daily basis: no wonder we have a big and overwhelming problem with obesity these days. Young people are so obsessed with looks that go to extreme to punish their bodies: e.g. bulimia , anorexia. Rather concentrate in developing your minnd and awake your soul: spirituality and good values: Looks? yes, great to have and to keep : however ....being and remaining healthy is the bottom line: harmony and balance: so much needed these days. Bear in mind...what we think....we become...and what we eat/do not eat .....will show results: blessed we are in Australia where one can have a variety of fresh produce and quality meats at affordable prices. Celebrate your life! and bon appetit!
    20th May 2015
    Its not only the type of foods people eat that contributes to the obesity crisis, but also the portion sizes. If you compare say a muffin today with that of say 50-60 years ago, today's product is muffin on steroids! The same is true even for truly health foods such as fruit and vegetables. Look at the usual size of bananas; who eats half a banana? or half a carrot?

    20th May 2015
    If it tastes good it MUST be good for you!
    20th May 2015
    Now I just need a chef to do the cooking for me!
    14th Jul 2016
    rtrish ... this is a great meal for me and is very easy to do and fast ... here it is maybe you like it

    Get lots of veggies any will do and chop them in small pieces.
    Get chicken, pork or beef (No fat) and cut them in small pieces
    Onions and Lots lots of garlic all chopped in small pieces.
    ok all done now .....

    heat the frypan with some VIRGIN OLIVE OIL and cook the chicken, pork or beef first and put aside.

    then put the onions and garlic cook for a bit the add all the veggies maybe add a bit of olive oil (NO SALT OR SUGAR)

    Then when all veggies are cooked then add the already cooked Chicken, Pork or beef and add some pepper or any condiments you like I suggest chilli will work well maybe add 2 or 3 drops of spice sauce or soy for taste.

    Maybe add some jasmine rice then seat with a big glass of water (NO WINE or any licor just water) and eat eat eat ...

    Hope you lake it

    I have lots of recipes that I may publish later when I have time to set them up properly red kidney beans with lots of stuff he he he ..... Yes I love cooking ....and my girlfriend love that he he he he
    20th May 2015
    Great to see they have finally changed it and putting vegetables and fruit in the biggest part of the pyramid. But we still don't need as much protein as they say, especially when a lot of what is in that part of the pyramid is processed. And as a vegan I am always concerned of the push to still eat meat and animal products which have proven to cause much disease and cancers. The most nutritious food is spinach, Popeye was on to it before the meat and dairy industry carried on about how much you need which is not true.As for fats I recently read that the only oil that does not cause cancer cells to grow is flax seed oil. And as far as water intake goes you do need more if you eat a lot of animal products, grains and processed foods. Vegetables and fruit have more than enough water content if you get enough of them, but include a lot of raw to benefit.
    21st May 2015
    I was told recently that by avoiding 5 foods, weight loss is inevitable even if you are a big eater. It should help diabetics too if it's true. These foods are (1) processed soya products, (2) all wheaten products, (3)processed fruit juices, sports drinks and lolly water, (4) margarines (5) sugars (except those occurring naturally) and products containing corn syrup.
    I'm interested in your response.
    21st May 2015
    That makes sense for those who want to lose weight. Those 5 foods are very unhealthy and have no nutrient value that we cannot get in more healthier options. I might have to consider giving up tofu will look into this. I don't drink juices and soft drinks only water and herbal tea, no coffee, black teas or chocolate as they are all stimulants.I have very little sugar mainly as maple syrup never corn syrup. I would never use margarines so very unhealthy, and I gave up wheat too but not for losing weight I don't have a problem with weight but am on a low fodmap diet for IBS, which helps a great deal but no cure yet, I live in hope.
    14th Jul 2016
    Yes mate I agreed all bad stuff ... I only use just 1 or 2 drops of soy sometimes for taste but that's it.

    All the process food are terrible full of shit for our old bodies.
    I love virgin olive oil and I only cook with that never sugars or salt just drop of Soy and YES those process fruit juices wowowo people should read the contents and the additives use on the packages to keep them for a long time and read the meaning of each additives this are some samples

    What is preservative 220 in food?
    Preservative 220 (sulphur dioxide, or SO2) and preservative 200 (sorbic acid) are substances that may be added to wine as a protection against oxidation and bacterial spoilage. This is the same kind of preservative used to protect dried fruit sold in supermarkets.

    What is preservative 250?
    The food preservatives sodium nitrite (250) and sodium nitrate (251) - typically found in processed cured meats like ham and bacon - are both listed as "probably carcinogenic to humans" by WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer, because they can be converted into nitrosamines in the stomach and nitrosamines ...

    So for more go here ....

    And much more just search and you will see all the shit they put on our food and maybe you never buy again from Coles or Woolies he he he he he.
    This is only a guideline is up to the individual how they treat their intakes.
    28th Jun 2016
    I do believe that more people would go off canola if they knew it was extracted via chemicals .
    14th Jul 2016
    Yes replace canola for virgin olive oil.
    There are some bad ones to so need to read the label and where they come from Spain, USA, Mexico ??? Australia (Ours is mixed with foreign spanish oil I think I read some somewhere)

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