Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Agriculture released new dietary guidelines for Americans that are demonstrated with the MyPlate icon. The sections of the plate show the recommended food groups with fruits and vegetables taking up half of the plate, and proteins and grains making up the other half.
According to a Wall Street Journal article, the federal government has been offering dietary advice for more than one century. Guidelines in the 1940s focused on the “Daily 8” and in the mid-1950s there were the “Basic 4.” A food wheel icon appeared in the 1980s with the food pyramid icon arriving in 1992. The pyramid was often criticized by nutritionists as confusing and not mentioning the benefits of healthy oils since they were suggested to be used only sparingly.
The mission of the MyPlate campaign is to reduce childhood obesity, which impacts health care costs and worker productivity, and therefore the national economy. The cost of the MyPlate campaign is $2.9 million over the next three years. Contrast that with a Stonyfield Farm blog that mentions in 2008, a leading fast food company spent $1.2 billion on marketing their foods that most likely will not be highlighted in the MyPlate campaign.
The new MyPlate website has some useful tips on what is included in each of the food categories. I found the list of whole grains to be particularly useful. In fact, I think that the new icon is more helpful in understanding the proportions of different food groups on my dinner plate. I would be interested in hearing your opinions on the MyPlate campaign as well! Please leave a comment below or check out this blog on Facebook.