Food Plate Replaces Food Pyramid

New Icon For Healthy Eating


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General Guidelines to Follow

Balancing Calories

  • Cut Down on Portions
  • Enjoy Smaller Portions

Foods to Increase

  • Half the plate should be make up of fruits and vegetables
  • Half the grains you eat should be whole grains
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) dairy products

Foods to Reduce
  • Choose foods with lower sodium content when eating foods like soup, bread and frozen meals.
  • Drink water or sugar free beverages.

US Hopes New Will Encourage Weight Loss

The US Department of Agricultural launched a new nutritional icon this summer in the hope that it would help to lower the number of obese people and reduce the costs incurred by health conditions related to obesity.

In June the new icon, which is called My Plate replaced the food pyramid which has been the icon representing a healthy diet for almost twenty years.

First lady Michelle Obama and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack unveiled the new icon that is called My Plate.

What is My Plate?

The My Plate icon shows a plate that is divided into four sections representing fruit, grains, proteins and vegetables; with a circle on the side-representing dairy is a simplified version of the former icon, the nutritional pyramid.

It is intended to be a simple yet powerful visual cue to encourage people to eat more healthily. It is hoped that by using an actual plate icon, this visual will give people a better understanding of the actual portion sizes involved than its predecessor did.

It is recommended that a little more than half of the plate should be fruit and vegetables.

By eating half a plate of fruit and vegetables at each meal supplemented by a quarter of a plate of proteins and a quarter of a plate of grains and also eating or drinking dairy produce at each meal it is hoped that the nation will start eating a more balanced diet.

On MyPlate's website, the United States Department of Agriculture emphasizes the messages which have been reproduced for your convenience in the box at the top of this page.

Experts Endorse New Icon

Nutrition experts believe a plate is a good choice because it actually shows people what their plate should look like when they sit down to eats. It replaces the food pyramid that has been the icon of a healthy diet since 1992.

The information that is contained in the two icons is principally the same. However the guidelines have been revised to a certain extent over time. In the food pyramid, the widest part represents the breads, cereals and grains that should make up the largest portion of the diet whereas the apex of the pyramid shows the fats that should make up the smallest percentage of our diet. Now the new recommendation is for fruits and vegetables to be the largest percentage of our diets.

The USDA revised the pyramid in 2005 to expand the number of food groups to six and included a person walking up steps to represent the need for exercise to complement nutritional input.

Nutritional experts believed that both versions of the pyramid were complicated and misleading. Because of this they believe that the pyramid did not encourage the behavioral changes that were intended. The new icon is only a guideline of how one should eat and, in fact, it required consumers to go online in order to maximize effectiveness of the food guide.

This is good because they will then be able to learn more about the types of foods which are recommended for each section of the plate, for example which fats are the best fats for avoiding high cholesterol.

Another way to learn more about eating the right foods for your health is to visit the eat-well section of age-well.org

Eat Well and Exercise Well

Experts say the new campaign emphasizes the right points, especially the fact that fruits and vegetables, which contain fiber, vitamins and other essential nutrients, should comprise at least half of all the food we eat.

The plate makes it easier for people to understand the importance of eating healthier food and also eating smaller portions in order to control weight and reduce the risk of age-related and/or chronic diseases. For people who want to lose weight using a smaller plate, or glass for the dairy, is the easiest way to reduce calories at each meal.

Following these guidelines and doing 30 to 60 minutes of exercise on a daily basis can be the path to a healthier and happier new life and can be the easiest way to age healthily.


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