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food pyramid

noun, Ecology.
successive levels of predation in a food chain represented schematically as a pyramid because upper levels normally consist of decreasing numbers of larger predators.
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 of food pyramid
First recorded in 1945-50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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food pyramid in Science
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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