The USDA, with the full power of our federal government behind it, has decided that the traditional food pyramid is too complicated and has replaced it with . . . a plate.
Apparently, the traditional food pyramid–something I learned about in grade school, but which was not formally adopted by the USDA until 1992–is too complicated and is to blame for the poor eating habits of America. I thought that was McDonald’s fault, but hey, if you want to blame a polyhedron instead of an arch so be it. Personally, I think government agencies work overtime to come up with ways to waste taxpayer’s money. Of course, we know they do not actually work “overtime” and most do not actually “work” at all.
I’m not sold on the concept. Simple design does not mean simple interpretation.
What was wrong with the traditional food pyramid?
Apparently, one is to eat more servings of bread, rice and pasta, than one eats of meat. Two slices of bread for the bun. One patty. Sounds pretty simple. They even have pictures of the food, so even if you don’t speak English, you can still figure it out.
Cue the government’s new attempt to simplify our dietary quandaries:
So basically we have a plate with colors, a fork (to make sure we understand that the circular thing is a plate,) and another smaller circle that is presumably a glass marked dairy.
What does this make you think of?
I mean, seriously, how does this simplify things?
Do I get one plate for each meal or one plate per day?
If I have a cup of yogurt, can I not have a glass of milk? Is water acceptable–after all, it’s blue too, schematically speaking of course.
Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? I need to know which quadrant on my plate it belongs.
I can’t eat if my green food is touching my purple food.
Grains of sand? Salt? Grain alcohol? Am I just supposed to know that bread and pasta are grains? If I couldn’t figure that out on the old pyramid, there is no freaking way on God’s green Earth that I’m going to know that’s what the orange slice means.
The colors are confusing.
Where do oils come into this new picture? Are they in the cup with the dairy, or can they be spread around the plate?
Why don’t I get a spoon or knife? How about a spork? Can I only eat foods that I can use a fork for? That would eliminate soup. Peas. Not impossible but more challenging than it is worth. Can I still use my fingers?
The USDA tries to sell this concept in their press release.
MyPlate is a new generation icon with the intent to prompt consumers to think about building a healthy plate at meal times and to seek more information to help them do that by going to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov. The new MyPlate icon emphasizes the fruit, vegetable, grains, protein and dairy food groups.
And the old pyramid didn’t mention “fruit, vegetable, grains, protein and dairy” groups? They are there, but we don’t try to glorify bread with grain and meat with protein. I don’t know about you but I eat meat. I don’t order a protein burger. They don’t even attempt to upgrade the status of fruits and vegetables. Why not edible reproductive seeds and herbaceous organic material? Maybe that upgrade will come out in MyPlate 2.0.
By creating the new food icon, USDA helps all adults and children understand what a healthy plate should look like when they sit down at the dinner table.
Shouldn’t there be some actual food on the plate?
In order to reverse the trend of childhood obesity in the U.S., both parents and kids need accurate, easy to understand information about what constitutes a healthy diet. . . We are pleased that the USDA has seized the opportunity to help consumers better understand the basics of good nutrition and hope that this new icon helps parents make healthier choices for their families.
Sounds like Dilbert’s boss trying to explain a new management protocol. Blah, blah, blah is what I hear.
The new Dietary Guidelines set high standards that will require a concerted effort among numerous scientific disciplines to gradually change consumer behavior. This new icon will make it easier for consumers to incorporate the dietary guidelines into their food choices, which will ultimately help improve the health of our country.
And telling people that smoking is bad for you will stop smoking. Don’t drink and drive has pretty much eliminated DUI’s hasn’t it? I don’t see how that plate is going to convince people that french fries are not a healthy choice.
In today’s environment, when food is on every corner, at every event, and two-thirds of the nation is overweight or obese, consumers need clear guidance on healthy eating. The Plate shows more clearly than the Pyramid what healthy eating is. The Plate and the comprehensive communications effort it represents will help reverse trends for obesity.
It will probably cure cancer, put a man on Mars and bring peace to the Middle East. Seriously, who is going to walk away from the concession stand at a ballgame because they don’t have room on their icon for another cheeseburger with a side of Dippin Dots?
The new plate icon makes it clear that healthy eating means lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and for that alone it is a big step forward. The plate is easy to understand. You don’t need a computer to use it. It lets you fill your plate with whatever foods you like without worrying about portion numbers. Best of all are the messages that come with it. Enjoy your food!
No portion numbers? Just pile that pizza right on! Maybe that’s why the pyramid didn’t work–you needed a computer to figure it out! Of course, if you have any questions about what constitutes a grain, all you need is, um, a computer to log on to the MyPlate.gov website and click on the grain icon. (When you do, you can read about degermed cornmeal and bulgur–I didn’t even know that was a real word and I still wonder if they made that up!) The darned old pyramid just had silly pitchers of food that no one could figger out without some darn contraption. At least the pyramid had some numbers. This new icon doesn’t address how big the plate should be or how many plates you get a day, let alone how many times you can return to the all-you-can-eat buffet during the same meal.
I wonder how much somebody got paid to cook up this idea? (Seek and ye shall find . . . about $2.9 million!)