“Unfortunately, like the earlier U.S. Department of Agriculture Pyramids, MyPlate mixes science with the influence of powerful agricultural interests, which is not the recipe for healthy eating.” USDA has not provided commentary.
Within a short span of less than twenty years, our dietary guidelines have changed twice. The basic source of information that supports our choices in food has proven to be confusing, disproportionate, and even carelessly designed. Our basic food pyramid was introduced in 1992– a carbohydrate based map of what to eat. Above that generously sized carb-wedge were fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, and (finally) sweets being the smallest wedge. Many of us grew up filling in triangles in grade school to show we knew what to eat and how much of it.
Little did we know that what we were learning was a hideous representation of human health and well-being.
Call me a dramatist, but we all know the consequences we have been facing as a population since 1990: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, kidney/liver failure and transplants, liposuction and lap-band surgeries. We have endured all of the “ends” to our means. The government began to notice this too, and in 2005 created a new food guide pyramid— featuring someone running up the pyramid. I assume this has to do with encouraging physical activity. Each food group has a wedge in the whole pyramid, but are not stacked. Their thicknesses differ, and that is where the proportions are represented. Many people began to feel confused about this concept, and it was quickly scrapped in 2011 for our latest attempt at health: MyPlate.
Visually, this is the most simple and elegantly designed concept so far. It illustrates a “real-life” situation that many people can compare their own plates to. I believe the reduction in carbohydrates is in response to many of the scientific claims that prove carbohydrates are puffing us up, not fat. Personally speaking, I don’t know how you can incorporate fruits into every meal like that. On the flip side, at least it’s fruit and not sweets.
By the way, where did our fats go on this plate? We all know how much I love naturally-occurring fatty foods (like coconut oil and avocadoes)! Science is proving again and again that this does not harm our health. Excess carbohydrate and sugar does.
Frankly, with such a diversion as this MyPlate is, we are still avoiding the real issue here: that we don’t know how we should eat.
Oldways: Health through Heritage is a group that has adapted the food pyramid to not be a “one-size-fits-all” approach. They have creatively combined differing cultures like Latino, Asian, and African into complimentary food pyramids and dietary standards. This caters to the science behind nutrition: something I feel is what’s needed if we’re going to take this food thing seriously. Our bodies are a biological excitement for scientists all over the world, and they work hard to find the answers to life’s mysteries.
Someone is telling you what to eat and how much to eat. Where’s the fun in just being told? In asking “why,” we invite learning and begin to solidify our beliefs.
How do you feel about the food pyramid and its changes? What does the picture of health look like to you? If you could make your own perfect food pyramid, what would it look like?