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Friday, June 3, 2011

Food Pyramid is Ancient History

We can finally eat healthy now! The evil food Pyramid that has ruled over our lives has been banished. No longer do we have to live in the bondage of our evil pyramid masters.

If you aren't already aware, the USDA has banished the Food Pyramid to the dark and musty corners of historical quaintness. You might wonder what is going to fill it's place as our guide through the strange and meandering paths of nutrition. Don't worry, they have given us a new hero to light the way and lead us to health. It is called.......... wait for it ......... MyPlate. Here it is in all it's glory.

 You can read more about there guidance on their website http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ . There are some good sugestions on the site. Here are a few of them.

Balancing Calories
Enjoy your food, but eat less.
Avoid oversized portions.
Foods to Increase
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
Make at least half your grains whole grains.
Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
Foods to Reduce
Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals and choose the foods with lower numbers.
Drink water instead of sugary drinks.            

It seems that the suggestions are good. I wonder how much money went into creating this as I could have come up with this graphic and the suggestions in 45 minutes. What I would like to see is some encouragement to get everyone to grow their  own fruits and vegetables in order to limit our reliance on big business. I would also like to see an emphasis on teaching people how to form community gardens in order to make healthy foods available to those that often can't afford them.

In addition, how about we use the see through rule. If you rub your food on paper and it makes it clear, don't eat it. (Thanks Homer Simpson) Another problem with the food plate is the fact that I sometimes eat dinner from a bowl, and I also have square plates. How will I figure out how to divide my food when I am not eating off of a round plate? 

What do you think about the new guidance from the USDA? Where would you like to see more/less emphasis.



Anonymous said...

I think the new guidelines are better than the old ones, but to be honest, I don't think the federal government has any business whatsoever making dietary guidelines for its citizens. It's been government policy that got us into our food mess, and no government-issued fancy graphic is going to get us out of it.

Stephani said...

My husband and I were just discussing this topic - wondering exactly how much money was spent in this endeavor. We too, at times, eat from a bowl - so this all could get a little dicey!

BTO said...

michael, when your figure out how to eat from a square bowl let me know. My proportions are off i think.. that's why I'm gaining weight.

teekaroo said...

So if I'm eating a casserole with veggies, grains, protein and dairy, how much of the plate should be taken up? And do I put my fruit in the cup? :) we are visual learners, so I do like this chart better than the pyramid, but the fact still remains that I should eat less and move more.

JULIE said...

I'm glad they are saying fruits and veggies should be the largest proportion of your meal, instead of grains(and specifying whole grains).

Interestingly enough I saw in a documentary (can't remember which one) that the initial official recommendation to the gov when developing the food pyramid was to have vegetables on the bottom. But they instead changed it to grains on the bottom. Industry intervention maybe? At least it's much closer to what it should be.


I would eliminate dairy.

Karina said...

HAHAHA. I like the new guidelines and the simplicity of the chart.

K-Koira said...

Seems like they are finally acknowledging that vegetables are more important than grains, and that protein is more necessary than originally thought.

Bangchik and Kakdah said...

I wonder what will happen with heavy intake of vegetables.....

Mike said...

Anonymous: I agree, I would rather take the advice of Michael Pollan than the USDA.

Stephani: I guess we have to stick to plates.

Betty: Once you get over 80 pounds let me know. Until then you are good.

Teekaroo: You should have come up with the new program. I like it. Eat less, move more.

Julie and Maybelline: I think there is probably some lobbying and money playing a part in the creation of this. Why is milk on it's own instead of just being part of protein?

Karina: Simple is good.

K-Koira: There is a definite reduction of the amount of grains they recommend.

Bangchick: The same thing that happens when Popeye eats spinach. Eat veggies at your own risk.

Jenny said...

I read (i think it was on npr) they sent about 2million... Dissapointing it could somehow cost that much, none the less I do think it's better than the food pyramid. They most recent food pyramid was too hard to understand it really did have to be explained to you. It threw too much infrmation at you all at once. This is good and simple everyone can understand it and if you want more information it is easy to get it from their website. The general population is kind of stupid/doesnt think so I hope this helps our country as a whole eat better because it gets in your head.

Alice said...

I think this is an improvement. It's simple, and emphasizes fruits and vegetables.

I don't really get the love affair with fat free dairy though. There seems to be growing evidence that full fat items (in moderation) are better for us than the low fat/ fat free stuff.

I also like the recommendation to enjoy your food, but watch portion sizes.

Margie said...

I think this new move SIMPLY shows us homesteaders what we already know...SIMPLICITY is best! Now we need to make our other nutrition messages/rules/ideas just as simple. I have ideas! It is how I teach children to make good food choices. And these simple messages can be coupled with simple icons (gee, thus the pix of the plate?)and take away all the excuses we all (even we homesteaders..hheeehee)have for pour food choices.
I do want the government away from the business of telling us what to eat, also.
And when you can't translate the info into bowls or squares...I teach the kids to make an honest guess...if you are making the effort to get that far in the process of eating well...you are doing fine! My grandmother taught me the saying, "Moderation in all, All in moderation". Can't get much simpler than that!

Sarah said...

yeah, I too wonder what the budget was for that one and if they stuck with it or went over. What a deal! Nothing like stating the obvious, huh? What brilliant people we have leading us!

Veggie PAK said...

I agree it would have been much better to encourage people to grow some of their own foods. Monsanto probably wouldn't give the government approval on that idea though.

(If you flip that plate over, it probably says "Made in China".)

daisy g said...

One thing I notice right off is there is no portion of chocolate on the plate. What's a gal to do?

It seems basic enough, but it would have been nice to hear something about eating more organics in there. Ah well, we each must decide for ourselves.

Bethany said...

As an educator, I just went to a conference on nutrition and the presenter introduced this whole plate thing. It is a bit dumbed down, but honestly, working with at risk kids who have to ask me if Doritos are bad for them, I think it'll make more sense to them than the food pyramid.

The conference itself, led by a mainstream dietitian, seemed to favor processed foods. Examples included a demonstration that you could get "whole grains" from yogurt, or reduce saturated fats by using manufactured tub margarine over the more fattening, but organic, butter. I suppose it's the best some people are going to do, but I'd like to see more emphasis on eating unprocessed foods.

katiegirl said...

Where are the recommendations to eliminate processed foods from the diet? How about suggestions to eat real foods? And I hate the "no fat" addiction this country has. Animal fats are GOOD for you, and a large part of our body needs them (our cell walls are made of fats)!

And 2 million? What in the world cost so much to come up with that simple, dumbed-down design? And I read that of course certain food industries (dairy?) had some say in how this was designed. Puh-lease! Our country will be better off health-wise when food companies don't have the power over us (and Congress!!) that they do now! WHY do we let them make the rules?!!

Summer said...

Ditto on the fat phobia. Cut the grains off the plate and fill up with fats. They won't hurt you. If you must have grains, soak/sour them first.