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What are the cons of the USDA Food Pyramid?

Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics
The pyramid needs to be more specific. For weight maintenance and disease prevention, I recommend daily 4-6 servings of unrefined grains, 5 servings of veggies, 4 servings of fruit, some healthy fat, 6 oz. of lean protein, and at least one serving of beans. For weight loss cut the grains to 2-4 servings and move more.
Amy Jamieson-Petonic
Nutrition & Dietetics

The USDA Food Pyramid did some things well, but also had a few areas for improvement. It showed that everyone needed daily exercise, but many people were confused by the narrow slices of the food groups, and how that translated into their own personal nutrition program. My plate is very clear and simple....1/2 of your plate is fruits and vegetables, 1/4 lean protein, 1/4 whole grain, and low fat dairy…much easier to conceptualize for most people.

As a registered dietitian and nutrition professor, I can honestly say that the USDA MyPyramid leaves me scratching my head as it does little to help the public translate healthy eating onto their plate.

Enter the latest graphic symbol of nutrition advice, MyPlate, released on June 2, 2011, by the USDA to visually help Americans translate the science-based, 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans into their everyday life.

The new MyPlate is a dinner plate split into multiple sections, each representing not only a different type of food but also the relative proportion that these foods should dominate your diet. At a blink of an eye you will now see that half of your plate should be devoted to waist- and heart-friendly vegetables and fruit with a smaller portion for whole grains and lean protein foods such as fish, skinless poultry, and lean meats. The circle shape next to the plate is a visual reminder to make sure that non fat and low fat dairy foods such as milk are not forgotten at mealtime.

With over 65 percent of Americans overweight, this visual shift of foods on your plate can make a dramatic effect on your calorie intake. Devoting more than half of the surface of the plate to low calorie vegetables will crowd out higher calorie grains and protein foods, potentially cutting over 100 calories from your dinner.

Goodbye, Food Pyramid. Mangia to the new MyPlate.

For more information, visit: www.choosemyplate.gov

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.