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History of the Swiss food pyramid

The food pyramid forms the basis for advice on adult eating habits. A balanced diet should cover daily nutrient requirements while also providing the energy necessary for activities and ensuring wellness.

Food and requirements

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

The evolution of the food pyramid

The Swiss food pyramid was developed in 1998 and based on the American food pyramid. In comparison to the latter, the Swiss Society for Nutrition added groups for drinks, sugary food and fats, as well as the concept of tailored servings. According to this pyramid model, on a daily basis, a Swiss adult should eat 50-55% of their energy requirements in the form of carbohydrates, 30-35% in the form of lipids and the remaining percentage in the form of proteins. The pyramid shape provides information on the recommended quantity for each food group: the lower the food group is in the pyramid, the higher the quantity to be consumed, and vice versa.

This version of the Swiss food pyramid was then updated in 2005. The changes mainly relate to the recommendations accompanying the pyramid. For example, specifications about how frequently certain kinds of food should be eaten have been added (on a daily basis, as a treat, at each meal, etc.). Information about taking daily physical exercise was also added. The Swiss Society for Nutrition made new changes in 2011, mainly relating to graphics, to make the information more accessible.