Goodbye Food Pyramid

In one of my first posts on this blog I voiced my issues with what the American government has been telling kids to eat.  Not only was the Food Pyramid metaphor confusing, but it told kids that most of their daily calories should come from starchy carbohydrates.  That’s a recipe to get fat, and I’m 100% sure that’s been a contributing factor to the American obesity epidemic.

Today, to much fanfare, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it was replacing the Food Pyramid.  Maybe they read my blog?  OK, that probably wasn’t the cause, but it’s still a good thing.

The pyramid has been replaced, but a much simpler “plate” icon.  From a pure readability point of view, it’s clearly an improvement, but beyond that it seems to send some better advice.  CNN posted a story today about the plate that included a good interview with some credible experts on nutrition and I think they sum things up well about the new changes.

Its predecessor, the first food pyramid, released in 1992, recommended five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables. But these were secondary to the recommendation of six to 11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta. It didn’t differentiate between refined and whole grains.

“It promoted eating so many grain servings, it was promoting obesity,” Nestle said.

Dr. David Kessler, author of “The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite,” agreed that the older food pyramid “didn’t reflect best of the dietary guidelines.”

“Refined carbohydrates should’ve never been the major part of the diet,” he said. “It was never about eating refined carbohydrates. It’s why it didn’t work.”

With the new changes, Kessler added, “Maybe now, we have a chance.”

I think this is a real step in the right direction and perhaps some more advice based on good science can start to trickle down to our kids now.  What do you think?


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