The simple answer to this question is YES. Well, it should anyway. It’s not perfect, but it definitely helps clarify the nutrition message that dietitians and other health professionals have been trying to get out for years. And it does it with a symbol that all of us can relate to—a plate. In addition to the graphic, there are also some very common sense nutritional guidelines, which are listed below:
- Enjoy your food, but eat less.
- Avoid oversized portions.
Foods to Increase
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
- Make at least half your grains whole grains.
- Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
Foods to Reduce
- Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals—and choose the foods with lower numbers.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
In my opinion, the now-retired MyPyramid took a step back from the original Food Guide Pyramid because it had a bunch of colorful, vertical stripes, and no one had any clue as to what they were supposed to do. At least the original pyramid had pictures of the food groups, along with the recommended serving sizes. But now, we have an even clearer picture of what constitutes a healthy meal, which is probably where we should have started from the very beginning. And many are touting the simplicity of the MyPlate design, after years of confusion associated with MyPyramid.
Though I like the new graphic and think it’s easy to understand, I’ve already heard grumblings about this or that. For example, why isn’t half the plate vegetables (since most dietitians recommend this anyway), with fruit represented on the side, similar to dairy? Or what happened to exercise, since that was clearly part of the MyPyramid design? I completely agree with the first point. I would have added another plate to account for a generous portion of fruit, leaving vegetables to comprise half the plate. However, I’m not a fan of including exercise in the design. It’s fine to discuss exercise and energy balance in some of the accompanying materials (the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as an example), but it isn’t needed on the graphic itself.
People need to remember that this is simply a tool for educational purposes (for 311 million people I might add), and that recommendations for individuals will always deviate from this at least a little bit. That said, it’s a good starting point.
So what do you think of MyPlate? Helpful, worthless, or don’t care? Let us know your thoughts!
6/6/2011 at 2:28 PM