While people all over the world are advised to eat a balanced diet and to drink mainly water, dietary norms vary from one country to another depending on customs, resources and climate. In 1998, the Swiss Society for Nutrition (SSN) developed its first food pyramid, adapted from the American food pyramid model.
The principle of the food pyramid is to provide a clear visual representation of the nutritional values of food. The pyramid is divided into several levels, classing foodstuffs into food groups based on their essential nutrient content and on the culture of the country to which the pyramid applies. When these levels were established, the potential impacts of food on metabolism, diabetes and obesity were also taken into account