June 6, 2011

USDA Ditches Food Pyramid for a Healthy Plate?

The United States Department of Agriculture laid an egg on June 2. Color it, slice it, and try to understand it, but it missed the target. Fat is still out which is a mistake and giving whole grains over 25 percent of the plate will do nothing to slow the obesity epidemic in the US.

There are already many articles promoting this "new" distribution. Fortunately there are those who see the weaknesses of this approach. Nothing has improved in the overall scheme of food nutrition. There is no standardization or bringing down the serving sized on food labels or improving the label relationships among the different foods. Many mixed messages still need clarification. The largest problem is that one plate size seems to fit all which anyone with diabetes knows does not work. Individualization is the key for best results.

I know that to lose any weight, I do not need 2000 calories, but this seems to be the message - everyone needs 2000 calories per day. The question of portion sizes, fat intake, and energy expenditures are not figured into the equation. Also too many areas are open to interpretation and misinformation.

The need to stop obesity in adults and children is a worth goal, but the plate icon falls short of setting any real objectives. As for the aah ha moment many have written about, I am afraid this is an ooh no presentation. It is doubtful that the "MyPlate" icon will change Americans' eating lifestyle because it is still dependent on personal responsibility. It can only be hoped that the larger picture will eventually catch the public's attention and interest to learn how to make healthier food choices.

The plate design shows a plate divided into four sections:
     Red is for fruit
     Green is for vegetables
     Orange is for grains
     Purple is for protein, and then add
     Blue as a side dish (or cup) for dairy.

The USDA has improved the portion size from the food pyramid, but a lot is left to be accomplished.

Read the USDA press release here, and a WebMD assessment here. Then take time to read another report here and a report from a nutritional standpoint here. An very interesting blog by Dr. William Davis is here.

There will be many articles and assessments appearing in the months ahead, so be prepared to read both good and bad reports.

1 comment:

Ila said...

You say exactly what I said. At first glance it seems an improvement, and it may actually help some people. If it does , then I guess it's a good thing. I would have to say thought it is much easier to understand than either of the pyramids.

As you say though, one plate does not fit everyone.