Goodbye Food Pyramid! Hello Healthy Plate!
After nearly two decades of dietary tyranny the food pyramid is officially gone! What was wrong with old pyramid that so many of us grew up with? Well you’ll have to refer to a previous blog entry I made entitled “MyPyramid=Fail”. The new concept replacing the pyramid is superior on several levels. Ladies and Gentlemen…. MyPlate!
1) The science is better. MyPlate’s predecessors fell victim to special interests who over emphasized the importance of foods like dairy and meat. We’ve always been told to drink lots of milk for healthy bones. Consider this…. Americans consume more dairy than any other country yet we have the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world. Clearly dairy is not the answer. Calcium in milk isn’t digested easily. The truth is that dairy products tend to be high in fat in some cases. MyPlate accurately makes dairy appear extra, as a small side dish.
2) At a glance you can tell what is what. MyPyramid was color coded but unlabeled. There was a pointy stick figure walking across red, blue, green, and other various colored wedges. While the plate is colorful it is also clear about what each color represents. Rather than focusing on a number of servings throughout the day (who knows how big a serving is?) it is focused on proportions when its meal time. Every meal can consist of these basic elements: Fruits, Vegetables, Grains/Legumes, Protein, and Dairy. In these days of excess the plate also encourages portion control.
3) MyPyramid required internet access to be helpful. To decipher the information in the image you had to log on to a govenment website. MyPlate is informative at a glance and it includes further online resources if you want or need more information. As an icon it stands alone.
4) Simplification is an improvement. They have removed groups like fats or sugars. Fats and sugars are nutrients not food types. Fruits contain fats and sugars. Grains contain fats and sugars. Becuase nutrients permeate every food catagory it makes more sense do exactly what the UDSA did…. simplify.
Finally, the USDA puts out something useful. Here’s hoping it helps all of us to be better eaters.