Sunday, May 29, 2011

Goodbye Food Pyramid, Hello Dinner Plate

Check out this New York Times article on the change from the USDA's Food Pyramid to the Great Plate.

The Obama administration is about to ditch the food pyramid, that symbol of healthy eating for the last two decades. In its place officials are dishing up a simple, plate-shaped symbol, sliced into wedges for the basic food groups and half-filled with fruits and vegetables.

The circular plate, which will be unveiled Thursday (May 26), is meant to give consumers a fast, easily grasped reminder of the basics of a healthy diet. It consists of four colored sections, for fruits, vegetables, grains and protein, according to several people who have been briefed on the change. Beside the plate is a smaller circle for dairy, suggesting a glass of low-fat milk or perhaps a yogurt cup.   READ MORE

And, here is an excerpt from article on the Great Plate published by the University of Michigan:

The Great Plate concept is designed to be an easy way to control portion sizes and create a healthier meal, simply by dividing a 10-inch size plate into three sections.
  • Half of the plate is filled with non-starchy vegetables such as green beans, tossed salad or carrots.
  • A quarter is filled with lean protein such as skinless chicken, non-fried fish, tofu or lean cuts of beef or pork.
  • And the final quarter is filled with whole grains or starchy vegetables such as whole wheat bread, pasta, rice, corn, peas or potatoes. 
  • There are also recommendations for food categories that are not always present in every meal such as fats and fruits.

The "Great Plate" also addresses one of the biggest challenges people face when it comes to eating healthier—understanding portion sizes. Most don't realize that portions have changed dramatically over the last two decades. What we think is one serving is, in actuality, closer to two or even three servings.  For example, 25 years ago, your average bagel had a three-inch diameter and contained 140 calories; today, the average bagel has a six-inch diameter and is 350 calories. Your average order of French fries was 2.4 ounces and 210 calories 25 years ago, but today it is 6.9 ounces and 610 calories. READ MORE

According to the New York Times article:

"The food pyramid has a long and tangled history. Its original version showed a hierarchy of foods, with those that made up the largest portions of a recommended diet, like grains, fruit and vegetables, closest to the wide base. Foods that were to be eaten in smaller quantities, like dairy and meat, were closer to the pyramid’s tapering top.
"But the pyramid’s original release was held back over complaints from the meat and dairy industry that their products were being stigmatized. It was released with minor changes in 1992.
"A revised pyramid was released in 2005. Called MyPyramid, it turned the old hierarchy on its side, with vertical brightly colored strips standing in for the different food groups. It also showed a stick figure running up the side to emphasize the need for exercise."

1 comment:

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