The USDA has recently introduced the new MyPlate diagram, which is slated to replace the, apparently, archaic Food Pyramid. While it is certainly something that will take some getting used to, this design it does appear to be much easier to understand what the average American diet should be. Not surprisingly it is very similar to the old food pyramid, but there are some changes.
First of all, if you recall, the base of the food pyramid used to be the section that was breads, grains, and starches. Of course, we realize now that a “starch” was quite often part of the vegetable category. Regardless of this, though, because it performed functions that were similar to grains, they were lumped together. You were supposed to get at least 6 servings a day.
On the second tier of the food pyramid were the fruits and vegetables, which were categorized separately. You were supposed to get at least 2 servings of fruit and at least 3 servings of vegetables.
The third tier showed that you were supposed to get 2 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, and or nuts. It also showed that you should get three servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese. Obviously, these are more commonly known as the meat and dairy groups, respectively.
Atop the pyramid was the “fats, oils, and sweets” category, which you are supposed to eat “sparingly.” This is, perhaps, the most confusing aspect of the food pyramid because this category must be something that is part of the RDA of nutrients, because it is part of the food diagram.
This is probably one of the reasons why the food pyramid was “reimagined.” Honestly, it was a bit confusing, especially when you consider that the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowances) for all of the vitamins and minerals are dependent on your size and on the amount of calories you need in a day.
The MyPlate diagram, though, simplifies everything. Instead of focusing on how many “portion” you are supposed to eat during the day, it directs your attention to the how much of your diet should be dedicated to particular foods.
The MyPlate diagram is simply a pie chart that looks like a dinner plate. On the plate are the four major food groups: Vegetables, proteins, grains, and fruit. Half of the plate is fruits and vegetables, with the latter occupying a little more space, suggesting it is slightly more important. Proteins and grains, then, are each about one-quarter of the plate. The dairy food group is signified by a “cup of milk” on the side.
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