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MyPlate Replaces USDA Food Pyramid

Old nutrition icon was criticized as being hard to understand.

Don’t call it a pie chart.

In an ongoing effort to get America to eat healthier, the USDA on Thursday ditched its complicated food pyramid in favor of a more digestible visual called MyPlate.

Built on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, MyPlate divides a plate into four labeled sections that show what a balanced meal should look like. Fruits and vegetables take up half the plate, while the other side offers one section for protein and one section for grains. Dairy is seen to the side in a blue circle much like a cup.

The new nutrition icon replaces the food pyramid that was introduced by the federal government in 1992. Over the years since its introduction, the food pyramid was criticized for becoming too complicated for consumers to easily understand.  

First Lady Michelle Obama, along with Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, unveiled the new diagram at a Thursday morning press conference.

“This is a quick, simple reminder for all of us to be more mindful of the foods that we're eating and as a mom, I can already tell how much this is going to help parents across the country," Obama said.

The plate diagram is intended to up the nutritional ante with quick information that will help Americans make better food choices.

“The new icon is simple and easy to understand, with more emphasis placed on fruits and vegetables," Benjamin said. “This new tool can be a fun way to help individuals and families make healthier meal choices. I encourage all Americans to follow the new dietary guidelines and become familiar with the new icon because it will serve as a compass to a healthy and fit nation.”

The initiative’s supporting website, ChooseMyPlate.gov, urges portion control and reduced use of sodium. It offers other nutrition tips, such as drinking water instead of sugary drinks, and “how-to” resources.

With about two-thirds of adults and one-third of children in the United States estimated to be overweight or obese, the USDA is focusing on making what to eat easier to understand.

"What we have learned over the years is that consumers are bombarded by so many nutrition messages that it makes it difficult to focus on changes that are necessary to improve their diet,” Vilsack said. “This new campaign calendar will help unify the public and private sectors to coordinate efforts and highlight one desired change for consumers at a time.”

A Mother who understands the food pyramid June 04, 2011 at 02:56 PM
I am going to miss the food pyramid. I'm not sure what was so difficult to understand about it - reading a simple chart - people have been doing that for many years. I disagree with the fact that the "My Plate" idea is suddenly going have people eating healthier across America becasue "Mothers" are going to be able to finally understand it. Is that really the problem in having over-weight children running around? I think not. It's also difficult to grasp that we are spending so much time and energy (with everything that is going on in the world) on redoing the unbroke food pryamid. ~ A Mother who was able to understand the food pryramid.
Alma Cote June 04, 2011 at 03:35 PM
Although I applaud Mrs. Obama at focusing on nutritian, I'm afraid it's not nearly enough. Where is the big red circle with a red band across "Processed Foods"? I'm an 85% Live, Vegan foodist. But, if you ARE going to eat Meat and Dairy, why not care what's in it? At least make sure your meat is organically grass fed and not filled with junk Nature intelligently didn't add... As a person who was diagnosed with Diabetes II and running in the high 400s, I can personally vouch that a healthy diet of live, plant based foods can cure a desease from which my doctor told me I'd be tied to with medication the rest of my life. I showed him in 3 months that my sugar was not only stable, but that my pancreas was back to normal. (And then I went back to him 2 more times at 3 month intervals to confirm. That was almost 3 years ago). Don't misunderstand me. I agree that people should eat anything they want as a free adult, but I think one cannot make an informed decision without CORRECT information. AND I don't think our children should be making these decisions for themselves as the health of all affects the economy and politics of all. I'm a liberal and I believe in sharing my money to help out my fellow human, but if I'm going to give my tax dollars, I want to see the truth out there. It's too bad so many people would be out of work if there were a cure to 95% of cancer, heart desease, diabetes, etc.... (Oops... there HAS been since 1949. Research Dr. Max Gerson) ~Go Live
Lauren Miller Elfring June 05, 2011 at 02:48 AM
Another mother here who understood the food pyramid. The food pyramid was more of a daily allowance visual. The myPlate visual conveys just one meal. Society normally thinks of a day as have three meals, but people usually eat more than three times a day and the plate can be broken up and different parts eaten separately throughout the day.... it's just not a good visual, in my opinion. Also, I will never agree with the amount of dairy the USDA continues to push on society. Most adults don't digest the stuff, and not just because we're lactose intolerant, but because the protein is not digestable and it FEEDS cancer. Yep, dairy is carcinogenic, folks. So, Alma Cote, it's not a cure we need, we already have the prevention and it's consuming fresh, natural organic foods.
oliviamoris06 June 05, 2011 at 04:23 AM
Companies give out samples of their products all the time, it's a very effective marketing strategy. Best place online is "123 Get Samples" find online
Alma Cote June 05, 2011 at 12:06 PM
Lauren, you're absolutely correct about the prevention versus a cure. Thank you!

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