The new MyPlate nutrition guide might not look like much, but according to this nutritionist it's a serious improvement
I attended the launch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new food icon yesterday and the press conference following it (which featured Red Rooster chef Marcus Samuelson). As USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack explained, we have an obesity crisis in America that imperils our nation's national security, economic vitality, and health care system. It's time for action.
I got a preview of the design on a conference call last week (while I was in Spain) and took a screen shot. Here's one of the images released yesterday:
This may not look much like action, but it is a sharp departure from previous USDA icons (which USDA has delightfully put online). These mostly emphasized the importance of meat and dairy foods (the 1992 Pyramid was an exception, which was why the Bush II USDA got rid of it).
Before yawning, consider its strengths:
- It is easy to understand (as Mrs. Obama explained, even a child can use it).
- Vegetables make up the largest sector.
- Together, vegetables and fruits are half the plate.
- You can put whatever foods you like on that plate.
- You don't have to count servings or worry about portion size (if the plate isn't too big).
- Dairy foods—a discretionary group—are off to the side.