Michelle Obama has been spearheading the crusade against obesity which yesterday birthed a simpler and healthier update for the Food Pyramid. The new “My Plate” design is laid out like a sectioned plate so we can easily compare the suggested servings with our own dinner plates. And look at that chique low fat milk up in the top right corner. Simple, and great. What’s beneficial about this design is that even grade school kids can understand the inconsistencies between the My Plate portions and their own large meat and potato servings.
A good point of reference here is that kids from age 2 to adults obesity rates have doubled since the 1970s. The number of states with adult obesity rates over 25% has risen from zilch in the early 90s to 32 states in 2008!
Remember the 2005 USDA food guide travesty? It was a bunch of thin, colored wedges with foods crowded at the bottom (a version without titles or any information had been popularized on everything from cereal boxes to posters). Climbing the pyramid stairs was a clip-art guy—a symbol for the importance of exercise—seemingly conquering the food pyramid. That’s right, America, no matter how much High Fructose Corn Syrup and deep fried Oreo garbage you eat exercise will give you perfect health.
|Before - a little crowded, confusing, Clip-Art guy beats the Pyramid|
|After - All kids are confused and guy walks over the rainbow parachute|
Why did this no-brainer design take so long to come to fruition?
Up until recently, the USDA-approved Food Pyramid has been fundamentally based on the 1956 model. The 1950s model was intended to ensure people were eating enough. You can guess why this ideology has been outdated for more than 60 years. Even at the time of this make-sure-you-eat-enough model, roughly 33% of adults were overweight. The only problem in the ‘50s was that obesity hadn’t yet been recognized as a disease.
Fast forward to 1992 when the meat and dairy bigwigs started lobbying to keep their large suggested servings (lest they might lose a few dollars keeping America fat).
Fast forward again to January of this year when the newest dietary guidelines were released after a 2 year struggle against aforementioned lobbyists. Nice work, Depart of Health.
Since the release of My Plate on June 2nd, the USDA has spent $2 million to design and promote the plate. I think the U.S. deserves a high-five.
Did you know?*
Before vitamins and minerals were discovered Protein, Carbohydrates, Oils, and Mineral Matter comprised the first USDA food guide (the latter category of which consisted of ashes from charred meat and vegetables as well as salts).
1920’s food group updates included four cost-levels and shopping suggestions for the Depression.
From 1943 to 1956, one of the seven food groups was butter.
Vegetables were a recognized category only since the 1992 Food Pyramid.