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Choose My Plate

I suppose I should write a blog post about this whole My Pyramid to My Plate transition.  I’m not excited about this because it means that I have to go over the pitfalls of the food pyramid (and believe you me, there were many).

For those of you who haven’t heard, My Pyramid is out. It’s so 1990’s.  The Pyramid was meant to be a guide as to how many servings of what foods an individual should be having daily.  The revised version (released in 2005) was merely vertical strips that represented food groups.  The thickness of the strip indicated how much individual food groups should contribute to your overall caloric intake.  What?!  I won’t bother explaining.  This is what it looked like:

The pyramid was even more confusing because it didn’t talk about food quality within food groups; for example, at first glance of My Pyramid, it would be obvious that part of a healthy diet is comprised of meats and beans (indicated by the purple strip).  However, there was no way to distinguish which are healthier choices, like lean meats and fish.  Also, the ‘fats’ section indicated that they should be used sparingly – well, yes. While true, it’s much different to consume trans fat “sparingly” (whatever that means) than unsaturated fats “sparingly”.

So what’s next?  The plate method!  My Plate (unveiled yesterday) is actually a good concept and much easier to understand than My Pyramid.  It is a 9-inch dinner plate divided into sections indicating how much of your plate should be filled with different food groups.  For instance, half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables.

Theoretically, My Plate can serve as a visual cue – for the lower income populations (who tend to be less literate) and for anyone just glancing at the suggested guidelines.  But in actuality, it’s not much more intuitive than My Pyramid was.  If it were MY Plate (ha), it would have looked more like this:

Are there downfalls with the new plate?  Of course there are.  It’s the government.  It still doesn’t indicate which are the healthier choices in each food group, though is a little more helpful than was.

Either way, we should all be eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  Choose low fat dairy and select more lean meats and beans.

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