What happened to the old USDA food pyramid?

Alberta Scruggs
Nutrition & Dietetics
It appears the USDA MyPyramid food guidance system was replaced by the MyPlate icon to promote nutrient adequacy, kcalorie management and increased physical activity. The MyPlate system was developed in conjunction with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, which focuses on an obese/overweight population. (Guidelines prior to 2010 focused on a healthy population). Its key message is "Make half your plate fruit and vegetables, avoid added sugary foods and drink plenty of water”.

The USDA MyPyramid food system was developed to emphasize "One size doesn't fit all" and to promote increased physical activity, moderation, variety and proportionality between and within the five food groups. However, many consumers viewed it as confusing and never grasped whether corn was a veggie or grain, what a serving size was, or how much of what should be served each day.

The MyPlate icon focuses on household equivalents (cups for veggie/fruit intake and ounces for grain/protein intake). According to First Lady, Michelle Obama, "Parents don’t have time to measure out an exact amount of protein but they can look at kid’s plate for guidance."

Hopefully, all consumers will learn to use the layout of the MyPlate icon to promote healthier meal planning strategies and dietary habits. If so, we may become a "healthier weight" nation.
Susan  Liles
Nutrition & Dietetics
Every so often the USDA guidelines are updated every 5 years and when this happens there are often times a new creation of the image that is sent to the public. The USDA food pyramid was changed to the MyPyramid (pyramid with the steps on the side), and this wasn't the only time that the image was changed. A long time ago it was a circle, and other times just information. 

The USDA tries to always update the image to make it clearer for the general public to understand. Hence the MyPlate. The MyPlate represents what each meal should look like and has eliminated the use of the servings and more shows how to correctly portion the different food groups onto your plate. They hope by changing the image more people will be able to incorporate more fruits and vegetables consistent with the updated USDA dietary guidelines. 

For more information check out
Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics

The Dietary Guidelines are updated every five years and the teaching tool is also updated to reflect any changes. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines had a couple of revisions based on the latest research findings of what is considered a healthy diet for Americans. The pyramid posed some difficulty with remembering how much to eat of what food group whereas the new MyPlate is more memorable since everyone eats off of a plate or has eaten off of a plate. Therefore it is a good visual to use a plate.

Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics
It was replaced by My Plate. The pyramid was confusing and did not really simplify what Americans need to be eating for weight control and disease prevention.

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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.