This morning Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled the new MyPlate icon, which is replacing the food pyramid. Surgeon General Benjamin opened the remarks, explaining how the U.S. needs to help citizens lead healthy lifestyles, by giving them concrete steps towards improving their health. Besides telling Americans to cut down on sugar, sodium and saturated fats, she says she hopes the new icon will be a tool to help people understand what they can do to improve their diets.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack introduced a short video that highlighted some of the ways the new icon can help families make better choices and introduced MyPlate.gov, a website dedicated to helping Americans eat healthier meals. He described the old food pyramid as “too complex to serve as a quick and easy guide” and explains that MyPlate is a simple, visual, research-based icon built on the 2010 dietary guidelines.
The recognizable food pyramid has been a symbol of proper eating for the past 20 or so years. That symbol is now being replaced by the Obama administration with an image of a dinner plate. Many people have complained that the pyramid is somewhat complicated and confusing.
“The Food Pyramid is being replaced with a plate-shaped logo, called MyPlate, which is meant to give consumers a visual cue of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines: make half your plate fruits and vegetables,” says Mary Hartley, RD, nutrition director for CalorieCount.com. “Unlike previous USDA food guides, the new logo focuses on foods to eat at a single meal rather than over the course of an entire day.”
The current food pyramid has actually been criticized for not conveying any useful information. First lady Michelle Obama has made ending obesity a personal platform and this new nutrition dinner plate is a pivotal change in the right direction. There are hopes that this will easily show people that half of their plate needs to be made up of fruits and vegetables. A few people have seen the new logo for nutrition, but it is not being officially revealed until Thursday.
In 2005 the US Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion made major changes to the Food Guide Pyramid. Vertical stripes replaced the building blocks to help represent moderation by the narrowing of each group from bottom to top, proportionality by the different widths of the stripes, variety by the new colors introduced, and the importance of physical activity and gradual improvement through the steps and slogan “Steps to a Healthier You”.
Recently, the USDA released new dietary guidelines for 2010, but the changes aren’t nearly as drastic. As Kelly said so well, “While it may be surprising that not much has changed since 2005 when our health obviously has, the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines show that how to eat healthy hasn’t changed, we just need to follow the guidelines now more than ever.” So just how do you follow the Dietary Guidelines for health and even weight loss? I have been teaching clients how to do this for the last five years with the help of the USDA and MyPyramid.gov.
It’s well known that eating healthy includes increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free/low-fat dairy products. However, even though we know we should eat better Americans still don’t do it. The American Dietetics Association provided a quick breakdown of the basic food groups, what you should eat within those groups, how many servings you should eat, and what counts as a serving.
It’s recommended to consume 3 servings a day.
What counts as a serving?
A one ounce serving equals one slice whole-wheat bread, 1/2 cup brown rice, 5 whole-wheat crackers, 1/2 cup oatmeal. (more…)
I say it often and I know you’ve heard others say it, but nutrient rich foods are key for your health and for weight loss (or weight maintenance). I recently received some information about the Nutrient Rich Foods Coalition (NRF) and decided to check out their website. In doing so, I found some great information about incorporating nutrient rich/dense foods into your diet.
What is the NRF?
The Nutrient Rich Foods Coalition website describes this group as “a partnership that brings together leading scientific researchers, communications experts and agricultural commodities. Our members are composed of 12 food commodity associations that represent the five basic MyPyramid food groups.” Meaning, this group consists of experts in each of the five food groups (milk, grains, vegetables, oil, fruits). The website offers several tools that the public can understand and incorporate into their lives with the focus being on making calories count by choosing nutrient rich foods. (more…)