The Pyramid is history. This week, the USDA ditched their much maligned MyPyramid.gov nutrition teaching tool for a plate.
Gone is the amorphous stick figure climbing the ambiguously colored bands of supposed food groups. In his (her?) place…a new plate:
What was MyPyramid is now MyPlate. At www.choosemyplate.gov, the USDA dishes out a few simplified messages:
- Balance calories by enjoying your food, eating less & avoiding oversized portions
- Eat more of the good stuff: make half your plate fruits & vegetables, half your grains whole & switch to fat-free or 1% milk
- Eat less of the bad stuff: cut back on sodium & drink water instead of sugary drinks
What was wrong with the pyramid? Well – for one, it didn’t work.
Remember the first Food Guide Pyramid? This one:
In 1992 when the original Food Guide Pyramid premiered, only 6 states had obesity rates of 15-20%:
For 8 years, as Americans got fatter, the Food Guide triangle floundered. Most Americans could tell you what the pyramid was, they just had no idea what to do with it.
By the time the USDA got wind of this – in 2005 – we were down from 49 to only 3 remaining states with obesity rates under 20% (Colorado, Vermont and Connecticut):
At this point – when Louisiana, Mississippi and West Virginia were trailblazing uncharted obesity territory in the 30%+ range – the USDA gave us the long-awaited and much-anticipated MyPyramid:
A few more years went by and criticisms of MyPyramid mounted:
- “It’s Elitist!” (you need internet access to explore its depth)
- “It’s Misleading!” (why is the fruit stripe red, the universal color for STOP?)
- “It’s Confusing!” (what do narrower bands at the top of a picture without any foods really mean?)
The Pyramids continued to fail the people, and by 2009 – the last year for which there is CDC data available – there was only one state left that had just 20% of its populace claiming obesity (congratulations Colorado):
Now, with 49 states touting obesity rates of over 20%, and 9 of those – all in the South – with rates topping 30%, enter…The Plate:
The design is simple and the message is clear: clean up your plate…before the obesity maps get any more colorful!