food pyramid

noun Ecology.
1.
successive levels of predation in a food chain represented schematically as a pyramid because upper levels normally consist of decreasing numbers of larger predators.
2.
a diagram that represents a healthy diet by placing food groups in a pyramid according to the number of servings from each group to be eaten every day.

Origin:
1945–50

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
food pyramid  
  1. A graphic representation of the structure of a food chain, depicted as a pyramid having a broad base formed by producers and tapering to a point formed by end consumers. Between successive trophic levels, total biomass decreases as energy is lost from the system. See more at trophic level.

  2. A pyramid-shaped diagram representing a set of dietary guidelines for humans, typically based on a recommended number of servings from each of several food groups. Foods along the broadest row, at the bottom, are considered basic to human nutrition and have the highest recommended number of servings. Foods in the narrowest part, at the top, are considered to be nonessential and have the fewest number of recommended servings. In the middle row or rows are foods whose recommended servings fall between those two groups.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The government is dishing up healthy eating advice, not with a new food pyramid, but instead with an image of a plate.
Climate change is warming the oceans, disrupting the fundamental structure of the marine food pyramid and destroying coral reefs.
Follow the food pyramid for your own personal recommended allowances from each of the food groups.
Images for food pyramid
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