Well, it’s not really a pyramid anymore. It’s a plate. And it’s still wrong. But before I get into that let me focus on the
positives about it.
First, the design. I like it. It’s simple and much easier to understand than the old pyramid. It’s also eye-catching. It looks very modern and should attract more attention.
Secondly, fruits and veggies make up half of the new plate meaning that, essentially, half of your diet should be made up of fruits and vegetables. I could not agree more. When I make a meal I always include fruits and vegetables and I strive to have half of my plate at each meal filled with brightly colored fruits and/or vegetables.
That’s it. That’s all I like about this new “MyPlate” setup from the USDA.
Here is what I don’t like.
First and foremost there is no area for healthy fats on this plate. None! That is a major disservice to the American public. Every single cell in the entire body has fat in it. Fat is necessary and essential to life. If we don’t consume fat, we die. Period!
Additionally we know that omega-3 fats from nuts, seeds and fish are exceptionally important for maintaining cardiovascular health. These are only briefly mentioned when you click on the protein section of the new plate. There is also an “oils” section on the main website (www.choosemyplate.gov) that explains a little about oils and their properties.
My point is that the new “MyPlate” design is intended to be something that people can look at quickly and get a gross idea of how they should be eating. When people glance and this plate they will infer that they shouldn’t eat any fat and that’s a major problem. People should consume fat and they need to consume fat.
My second major problem is that grains are still too dominant in this design. Yes, they stress whole grains, but they say that you only need to make half (HALF!) of your grains from whole sources. I would never encourage my patients to eat any refined grain on a regular basis, let alone half of their grains on a daily basis!
In my opinion, grains should be a very small of the diet, even if they are whole grains. They don’t need to be eliminated from the diet, but they should never make up a full quarter of what you eat. A diet high in grain leads to many problems such as inflammation and heart disease. Human beings should consume a paleolithic type diet.
Unfortunately, despite the new design, this is still the same old information regurgitated based on science that is decades old. The USDA needs to get with the times and reduce the grain recommendations and increase the healthy fat recommendations. Until they do that I fear Americans will continue to lead the world in obesity.