Food Pyramid Replaced with MyPlate
Food Pyramid Relegated to History
The Food Pyramid, that misleading infographic from our collective American youth, is no more. Fist Lady Michele Obama has unveiled MyPlate, a simpler and more accurate diagram of what constitutes a healthy balance of food groups.
The original Food Pyramid was pretty hard to understand: why so many carbs, and why no distinction between processed and whole grains? How are upside-down triangles supposed to represent fats and oils? The 2005 version of the Food Pyramid wasn't much better: it looked like a striped mountain with stairs going up the back and a pile of food at the base. Both were failures of graphic design: their message was buried in noise.
The new version is better, but that's not saying much. You could have probably done this in about 15 minutes with an old version of Excel. While you'd be unable to push it into the nation's school systems and onto a government website, it would also have cost less than $2 million, which is what the USDA has paid so far for the Food Pyramid revamp.
The plate is an exploded pie chart telling you not to eat too much pie, and is accompanied with some simple pointers to help America's kids maintain a healthy weight:
- Enjoy your food, but eat less
- Avoid oversized portions. (Aren't these the same thing?)
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
- Make at least half your grains whole grains
- Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk
- Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals- and choose the foods with lower numbers
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
Actually, the text-only version is even better than the graphic. "Protein" and "Grains" have plenty of overlap: is there a fear that kids are somehow not getting enough protein? Really?
At any rate, MyPlate is part of a multi-step strategy to get kids to stop eating so much junk: Step 1 is to up the number of fruits and vegetables on the daily menu.