A few years ago, my good friend Stewart Smith (a vegan) and I (omnivore at the time, now vegetarian) came up with an alternative to the traditional food pyramid for balanced eating, visualised here for the first time:
We both love food, and we figured that regardless of whether you eat meat or follow other dietary needs/choices, you will choose foods based on essentials like flavour and texture, and that’s what these groups provide.
Fat is key factor in food texture, sugar provides flavour whereas salt is an essential flavour enhancer (in moderation – you know you can even add a tiny bit of salt to hot chocolate/cocao to bring out the flavour?)
Stimulants (caffeine, alcohol) are not essential but do deliver a nice extra aspect to flavour, and chocolate (more accurately, cacao) can be regarded as a wildcard (depending on the purity, containing fat and sugar as well).
Still doubtful? Name me a food that does not contain one or more of the above, and what you think about it? Some food and drinks covers all groups – and aren’t they awesome!