The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), an organization of the USDA, revamped the familiar “food pyramid” into an easier-to-understand plate graphic called MyPlate to help promote the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. More information on the MyPlate symbol can be found at www.choosemyplate.gov, and general information about the graphic redesign is excerpted below.
What was the reasoning for developing the new MyPlate symbol?
MyPlate was developed as an effort to promote healthy eating to consumers. The MyPlate icon is easy to understand and it helps to promote messages based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The new MyPlate icon builds on a familiar image — a plate — and is accompanied by messages to encourage consumers to make healthy choices.
Where are the oils on the MyPlate icon?
To simplify the image, the MyPlate icon includes only the five food groups, to help consumers prioritize their choices. Oils are typically a component in food and usually not a separate item on the plate. The emphasis on the food groups helps consumers think about their entire meal instead of just components or ingredients.
What happened to discretionary calories? How do I count cookies, cakes, pies, etc.?
To simplify the image, the MyPlate icon includes only the five food groups to help remind consumers to eat healthfully. The icon does not include all of the messages of the Dietary Guidelines. Sweets or desserts can be included in a healthy diet as long as food group recommendations are met and overall calorie needs are not exceeded.
Physical Activity is not illustrated on the MyPlate icon. What is the rationale for the change?
To simplify the image, the MyPlate icon includes only the five food groups to help remind consumers to eat healthfully. It does not include all of the messages of the Dietary Guidelines. Although not depicted in this icon, physical activity is still very important for an overall healthy lifestyle.
Why is water not included on the MyPlate icon?
The MyPlate icon and the USDA Food Patterns are based on the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Guidelines recommendations for water intake do not include a specific recommendation for the quantity to drink. The Guidelines state that "healthy individuals, in general, have an adequate total water intake to meet their needs when they have regular access to drinking water and other beverages. The combination of thirst and typical behaviors, such as drinking beverages with meals, provides sufficient total water intake. Contrary to popular belief, there is no official scientifically-based recommendation to "drink 8 glasses of water per day."
U.S. Department of Agriculture. ChooseMyPlate.gov Website. Washington, DC. FAQs. www.choosemyplate.gov/faqs.html.
Accessed February 12, 2013.