Food Pyramid Out; Food Plate In | The Cycle Project


Food Pyramid Out; Food Plate In

Food Pyramid Out, Food Plate In…..
by Susan Weiner

Rather than reconstruct the already done and re-done Food Guide Pyramid, the USDA along with First Lady Michele Obama announced the government’s new food icon, Myplate. Since we actually eat off plates, the idea of MyPlate was designed to help consumers relate to eating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein and dairy foods.

• 1/2 the plate has Fruits and Vegetables
• 1/4 of the plate has Whole Grains
• 1/4 of the plate includes Protein
• Dairy is on the side

MyPlate was designed to follow up the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans which came out this past January. MyPyramid has not gone away entirely. It will still be available on the USDA website. Later this year the USDA will release”go-to”, an online tool that consumers can use to manage their exercise and dietary choices.

“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,” said First Lady Michelle Obama.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack added, “‘MyPlate’ aims to show that nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated.”

Why Limit Veggies?
While I agree with the idea of the plate (just ask my patients, I’ve been using the plate method to explain portioning for over 20 years), I disagree with not specifically referencing healthy fats. As a nutrition educator, I fear that seeing veggies as a part of a plate, might actually limit rather than increase consumption of vegetables (which are high in fiber, packed with nutrition and low in calories). I understand that the plate is a “suggestion” and a “guide”. However, with the exception of those who need to reduce fiber consumption due to a clinical condition, fiber (in the form of vegetables) should be encouraged, and not limited to a little more than 1/4 of a plate. If I were designing the plate, I would have had veggies make up 1/2 the plate, and put “fresh fruit” in a dessert bowl. Unsalted nuts, nut butters, avocado and other healthy fats should find themselves on everyone’s plate, every single day!

Interestingly, the American Institute for Cancer Research has been using the plate method for teaching proper nutrition for years. They recommend: “2/3 (or more) vegetables, fruits whole grains or beans and 1/3 (or less) animal protein”.

I’m looking forward to reading more updates about MyPlate on social media sites such as twitter (#MyPlate). The USDA needs our feedback in order to figure out if efforts such as Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! movement and MyPlate will actually make a difference in our lives and overall health of our children.

Susan’s earned her Masters Degree in Applied Physiology and Nutrition from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City. She is certified in “Adult Weight Management”, through the American Dietetic Association
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