Friday, June 3, 2011

The Food Pyramid is History

Yesterday the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) retired its graphical representation of dietary guidelines for Americans, known as the food pyramid. Its been replaced by a much simpler round plate that has only four elements, representing fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins. Dairy products are represented by a smaller circle next to the plate. Officials believe that the take-home message that half of our daily intake should consist of fruits and vegetables is more easily grasped by the plate than the old pyramid. You can see the new nutrition plate at

Already the plate has received criticism. For one, protein is found not just in meats, poultry and fish, but also in grains and dairy. Nevertheless, most nutritionists see the very simplicity of the plate as an improvement over the pyramid. The pyramid tried to do too much, they say. The rest of the USDA’s dietary guidelines and advice, including a document entitled “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010” that came out in January of this year, can be found conveniently on the site but are not part of the plate graphic.

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