safefood welcome “Top Shelf” split from new Food Pyramid launched today and emphasis on practical advice

Tuesday 6 December, 2016. safefood welcome the launch today by the Department of Health of the updated Food Pyramid and the distancing of the "Top Shelf" of foods and drinks which are all high in fat, salt and sugar. The new pyramid also places a clear emphasis on practical advice for consumers with helpful guidance on what is a serving size to help people eat smaller portions and a have a healthier, balanced diet.

Commenting, Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, Director, Human Health and Nutrition with safefood said:

The new Food Pyramid clarifies the changes that we as a nation need to start making to both what we eat and very importantly, how much we eat. The bottom shelf is now made up of fruit and vegetables which shows in no uncertain terms their critical importance to a healthy diet. Distancing the treat foods on the now-separated top shelf of the pyramid emphasises that many of these foods are simply empty calories in which we currently majorly over-indulge.”

“Our own safefood research has shown that we are eating portions that are oversized, even of nutritious foods. The new pyramid is a valuable guide to healthy serving sizes as we’ve lost the ability to know how much is too much when it comes to food. We also welcome the emphasis on more fruit and vegetables; it’s something we’re literally not eating half enough of and the health benefits can’t be underestimated. My advice to gradually get into the fruit and veg habit is to eat one more a day than you currently eat – on average in Ireland we eat 2 portions a day so eating one extra serving is a good start and to build up to the recommended 5 or more a day by having at least one portion at each meal and snack time. The practical sample menus with the new pyramid are a great way to start.”

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safefood participated with a number of other stakeholders in making recommendations to the Department of Health in developing updated healthy eating guidelines that reflected current dietary patterns and the need for practical advice for consumers.