What editorial writers are saying about MyPlate, the new USDA nutritional guidelines

The Agriculture Dept. has replaced its nearly 20-year-old food pyramid with a plate showing what -- and how much -- should be eaten at each meal.

Posted June 27, 2011.

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Editorial writers are largely supportive of the new illustration, though not all are convinced it will work as intended to reduce America's obesity rate.

What do you see on your plate today?

[MyPlate] may not sound like a radical departure, but it is. The new icon captures what you see when you look down to eat ... and it turns that view into a simple, comprehensible reminder of what should be there. The plate is half full of vegetables and fruit -- actually, labeled color blocks -- half full of protein and grains, with a glass of dairy on the side. The New York Times, June 3

A full plate: USDA's new image is less confusing than the old pyramid

So the Agriculture Department is replacing its familiar food pyramid with an image called MyPlate to help educate Americans about the basics of good nutrition. Smart move, we'd say. Evidently, the pyramid, which showed food groups in color-coded bands to assist consumers in gauging healthy proportions, was confusing to too many folks. That's not good. We like the straightforward clarity of the plate. Even in this era of eat and run, most folks still encounter a plate at mealtime, at least occasionally. We're betting they readily recognize the images of portion sizes for fruits, vegetables and what was once called meat but which the USDA now calls protein (to include seafood and tofu), when they're positioned proportionately on the image of a circular plate. The Houston Chronicle, June 11

Food pyramid now a food plate. Wow.

With due respect to first lady Michelle Obama's campaign against obesity and to the hard-working USDA nutritionists and graphic designers who spent $2 million to develop a circle divided into four not-quite-even parts, we doubt that Americans will pay any more attention to the food plate than they did to the food pyramid. ... The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 1990, the year before the pyramid debuted, no state in America had an obesity rate higher than 15%. By 2009, only Colorado and the District of Columbia had rates lower than 20%. Will the food plate change that? Of course not. ... Studies show that people make poor food choices because they either (a) don't care or (b) don't want to go to the trouble of preparing better meals or (c) can't afford the heavy load of fresh fruits and vegetables that nutritionists recommend. If there's a category (d) -- people who don't know the difference -- it's very small. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 6

So long, food pyramid; hello, "MyPlate"

[M]any have rightly noted that the Dept. of Agriculture's guidelines are in conflict with federal agricultural subsidies. Based on MyPlate, half of our daily intake should consist of fruits and vegetables. But analyses have shown that less than 1% of agricultural subsidies benefit fruit and vegetable growers. On the flip side, about two-thirds of agricultural subsidies benefit meat and dairy producers -- precisely the food sources Americans are being urged to cut back on. It makes no sense for the federal government to preach one message and practice another. Congress should bring its agricultural subsidies in line with its own nutritional advice when it rewrites the farm bill over the coming months. To do anything less is like leaving the table with your plate half full. The Kansas City (Mo.) Star, June 6

New "MyPlate" logo off to better start than food pyramid

The icon's design is easy to understand: Your plate should look like this. No-brainers accompany the logo on choosemyplate.gov: "Enjoy your food, but eat less" ; "Drink water instead of sugary drinks." Even those who see the USDA's guidelines as government nosing in on America's lunchboxes can concede none of the ideas are earth-shattering. ... Perhaps a "My Cart" option should be next: getting healthier foods in the shopping cart, before they hit the plate, is often the difficult part. The Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wis.), June 6

Food plate tops pyramid

Government bureaucrats don't always get it right, so when they do it's worth pointing out: The new "food plate" is a better way of promoting healthy eating that the old "food pyramid." ... Pyramid or plate, the message isn't complicated: Healthy food leads to healthy lives. Beaumont (Texas) Enterprise, June 6

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