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10 Food Pyramids From Around The World

Posted: 06/10/11 10:20 AM ET

The US Food Pyramid may be dead, but many countries around the world still look to the pyramid to convey nutritional advice for its citizens. Americans now can get used to the new MyPlate design -- which is similar to Spain, Australia and Britain's, by the way -- but in China, Poland, and elsewhere, we've found some creativity.

We also found a lot of similarities between the ways countries tell their citizens to eat -- and some differences. While most of the guidelines propose a similar ratio of proteins, grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy to the U.S.'s MyPlate, some contain regionally specific advice. It is clear that dietary images worldwide struggle to strike a balance between comprehensive but chaotic information (see Germany's 3D pyramid) and simple design with few specifics (see Hungary's house).

Here on Food Republic, co-founder Marcus Samuelsson noted last week that the rest of the world looks to the US as a leader, so we'll see if other countries jettison the pyramid for the plate. In the meantime, here's a look at 10 of the most visually stimulating food guideline charts from around the world.

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  • UK's Eatwell Plate

    What the?! You mean, the British already beat us to the plate thing, and theirs is way more involved that our basic MyPlate? We're not sure about the Eatwell branding (sounds like it's a nutritional offshoot of J. Crew), but it's split up into five sections that pretty much cover all the bases. Then again, it kind of crams a lot of information onto one little plate, so maybe the <a href="">new MyPlate is better for its simplicity</a>. Take that, UK. U-S-A! U-S-A! <strong>More About British Food:</strong> <a href="">5 Great British Beers</a>

  • China's Food Pagoda

    China's food pagoda advocates a varied diet that's high in sweet potatoes, legumes, and soy beans. Salt and oil compose the top tier of the pagoda and represent foods to consume in limited quantities. It may not get a lot of points for comprehensive nutritional advice, but at least the Chinese picked a culturally appropriate design for their chart! <strong>More About Chinese Food:</strong> <a href="">Can American Chinese food be healthy?</a>

  • France's Food Stairs

    Leave it to the French to be different. Then again, they do know their food, and of course their wine. This is also one of the few charts that encourages physical activity, which should be a no-brainer. Recommended daily servings are above the food in each step, and the magnifying glass on the side displays miniature small servings of sweets, salt, oil, and sodas. <strong>More About French Food:</strong> <a href="">Talking veggies and grains with Alain Ducasse</a>

  • Germany's 3D Pyramid

    Germany took the basic idea of the food pyramid and added as many features to it as possible. It'd probably take a hardcore IBM mainframe to explain this but here goes: Each side of the pyramid represents a different food group. On the bottom of the pyramid is a circle that shows the appropriate proportion of each food group, with water in the center. If that wasn't enough, there is a traffic light-inspired scale on the left of each of the four sides, which indicates the nutritional value of the foods in that side. At least we think that's what's going on here. <strong>More About German Food:</strong> <a href="">5 black IPAs to drink now</a>

  • Greece's Food Pyramid

    Greece's food pyramid represents the typical food groups -- proteins, vegetables, fruits, grains, and dairy -- and adds culturally specific guidelines for olive oil and wine consumption. They top it all off with a "Mediterranean Diet" tag that'd make this a perfect candidate for <a href="">the next US fad diet</a>! <strong>More About Greek Food:</strong> <a href="">Leg of lamb recipe</a>

  • Hungary's Food House

    Hungary's nutritional chart looks kind of like it was the result of a 5th grade class contest to design Hungary's next nutritional chart. Apparently, the Hungarian government issued a lot of text along with its symbol, but text is so 20th century. Still, you gotta love that there's a chimney made from sugar and fat. <strong>More About Hungarian Food:</strong> <a href="">Wine pairings</a>

  • Japan's Spinning Top

    The Japanese cover a lot of ground with its action-packed spinning top. The whirling symbol covers the gamut of eating and exercise advice, and even allows for snacks, "confections," and drinks (in a side note). Greater consumption of grains, vegetables, and fish are encouraged over fruits and dairy. Kinda what you'd expect from Japan. <strong>More About Japanese Food:</strong> <a href="à-la-japonaise?">Bordeaux à la Japonaise</a>

  • Poland's Food Pyramid

    The Polish food pyramid takes a thoroughly photographic approach to encourage a large consumption of grains followed by vegetables, fruit, dairy, and finally small amounts of fish and meat. We're guessing this is because either there's not a lot of fish and meat available in Poland; the pyramid was designed when the Soviets still ran the place; or the illustration was commissioned by the Polish Grain Foundation. <strong>More About Polish Food:</strong> <a href="">Talking with Giselle Wellman</a>

  • Slovenia's Food Pyramid

    Slovenia gets out vote for the trippiest food pyramid of all -- a 3D map to eating right and living well. Nice job, Slovenia! Send us your digits and maybe we'll come by if we can figure out where you are. <strong>More About Slovenia:</strong> <a href="">The wines of Friuli</a>

  • Spain's Food Pyramid

    Spain may be all cocky on the tennis court thanks to Rafael Nadal, but they're totally hedging their bets on the food chart. Spain's got a food plate as well as a pyramid. Like the Greeks, the Spanish also encourage its citizens to practically guzzle olive oil. They do get bonus points for spotlighting exercise and water intake though. So, um, good for them. <strong>More About Spanish Food:</strong> <a href="">Spain's gin and tonic bars</a>


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