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Out with the Pyramid, In with the Plate

What You Need to Know about USDA's ''MyPlate''


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I grew up in the 70's and 80's. We were taught the 4 food groups and the visuals were over simplified. Then the Baby boomers took over the world and created the intellectually stimulating pyramid. They must have spent years talking and debating over the intricacies of such a graphic. How I longed for the days when cows roamed a quarter of my day and bread was all abound with every meal. The government of food said that I should have a quarter of the stuff each day. Did I mention that the bread was white bread that we got on sale 2/1.00? Well maybe the intellects are still around perhaps influenced by those of us with simpler taste. I like the plate, it’s a simpler graphic that makes memorizing easier, and it’ll come in handy when at a party or a picnic. If only the dairy was given another name like dairy/calcium/soy or something like that. Too bad Wal-Mart doesn't sell those nine inch plates maybe more Americans would have them. Report
It's about time! It's not perfection but it's improvement and a step in the right direction to inform and encourage Americans to eat and live healthier. Report
After attending a culinary program and having done research on the food pyramid and the politics behind the USDA, I do not agree with the authors explanation as to why "protein", a nutrient was included on the plate. While attending the culinary program, protein to the instructors meant: beef, chicken, pork, or seafood. That is what Americans are taught and the food plate is reflecting this.

I have a hard time believing that "protein" was used because the test group understood that protein is available from other sources instead of just animal products. If that is the case, then why do we have that little circle representing a glass of milk instead of calcium. To me, it looks like the Dairy Industry had the most clout and influence in creating this graph.

One can always quibble over the simplicity of this plate but the fact is, it gets the message of variety over with a punchy image that is easy to remember. There are people who will always think of "vegetable" = "starchy vegetable" but I think our awareness of the desirability of colorful veggies is increasing, and this plate puts over the message that HALF of what you eat at each meal needs to be veggie and fruit. That has been the tough habit for me to form, since I too was raised on meat, potatoes, bread and maybe one other vegetable which was overcooked. In the summer we did have lots more fruit.
I hated the old pyramid - when I thought about it, which wasn't often... Report
Great article! I also appreciate the list of sources and the links to those website. A wealth of information. Thank you!!! Report
I really do not like the plate idea. Like the article says -- it leaves out fats, oils, and sugars.

Instead of telling people what they "CAN'T" eat we should be teaching MODERATION. Let our children have a variety of foods (even the "bad" ones on occasion) and teach them how to make better choices.

The obesity problem in America is also more than food. Remote control tv's, video games that imitate backyard baseball, automatic washing machines, automatic dishwashers, self-propelled law mowers, cars to go 1/4 miles, etc. etc. etc. We have become a very lazy society.

I believe that if you eat in moderation (with the occasional treat) and exercise moderately you will be okay. Report
Well done, ladies!!!
I remember teaching the pyramid in elementary school and know this new plate version will make a lot more sense. Report
I really like the new plate idea. The pyramid was a bit confusing, I must say, and the plate actually makes the concepts easier to visualize. I will try out the plate method for a few meals and see how it goes. I predict it will be easy and keep me on the right track. Good article! Report
I find it frightening that we health professionals continue to "dumb down" our public education about nutrition. When will we learn it's not about graphics and sound-bite messages?! What we eat and how we buy and prepare it are complex and important concepts. The pyramid failed for the same reason the plate will: Only the people charged with teaching the public about nutrition care about these graphics! At least the plate is related to food and eating. I truly never understood what pyramids had to do with it--and I'm a health professional! Report
@Dawn That's because we replaced an old article about the pyramid with this new one so that the old outdated one would no longer be on the site. Sorry about that! Report
The pyramid was a bit confusing. With the plate, it gives me the visual portion and I think that is a whole lot better. When the pyramid stressed whole grains, the plate stresses more veggies. Report
Interesting article. Also interesting is the fact that all of this information is from June 2011, but I couldn't earn spark points for reading it because I already earned them in 2009. Really???? I must have forgotten about my time machine. Report
I'm glad they improved the "pyramid". The 2005 version was so confusing! I really liked the pyramid they had before that, the one I grew up on, but it really did focus a lot of grains. The plate idea was very smart of them, and I'm glad they finally got something right. I hope it helps people understand what it means to eat healthy. Report
I find advocating low fat/fat free options are generally not as beneficial as it sounds. the additives that are used to create palatability of the product, e.g. yoghurt, cream cheese and the like, impact negatively overall. Report
I'm showing my age, but I was raised on a dinner of meat, potatoes and one or two other vegetables. Consequently, I find the inclusion of starchy vegetables in the vegetable quadrant confusing. Intuitively, I would choose grains or starchy vegetable, not grains and starchy vegetable; i.e. wholegrain pasta or potato, not wholegrain pasta and potato. I went to the plate website and other than seeing starchy vegetables listed, did not find any advice on their consumption. Report

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