The European Food Information Council explains that the European food pyramid varies in ingredients based on the different countries that make up the continent of Europe. These basic ingredients include carbohydrates, dairy, protein, fruits, vegetables and unhealthy pursuits. The ingredients in the various European food pyramids include essentially the same ingredients present in the U.S. food pyramid, but the differences are in the arrangement of those ingredients.
Categorization of the ingredients in the different European food pyramids make them seem peculiar to American consumers. For example, the European Food Information Council shows that in the Swiss food pyramid, milk and meat products are grouped together, while sugary foods have their own category independent of oils and fat. In the U.S. food pyramid, dairy and protein have their own sections in the food pyramid, while sugar is collectively regarded as part of the "extras" that also include oils and fat.
In various European food pyramids, beverages are included. In the Belgian food pyramid, there is an entire section at the bottom devoted to fluids. In many versions of the U.S. food pyramid, fluids are not included as a separate category. Based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture food pyramid, the only beverage visible is milk in the dairy category. In some popular depictions of the U.S. food pyramid, an image of soda is shown in the extras category. In some European food pyramids, there is a category devoted to particular oils and physical exercise.