New Dietary Guidelines: Michelle Obama and USDA Unveils ‘MyPlate’

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In keeping with her anti-obesity campaign, “Let’s Move”, First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled a new version of the food pyramid on Thursday – except it’s not a pyramid at all.  The new design is a much simpler icon of a plate split into four sections: fruits, vegetables, grains and protein.  A smaller circle sits beside it for dairy.  (VIEW IT  here)

This new diagram, called MyPlate, “will serve as a reminder to help consumers make healthier food choices,” the White House said.  Fats and sugars are eliminated from the diagram altogether, fruits and vegetables comprise half the meal, and grains no longer make up the largest portion of the chart.  The USDA’s website,, offers further guidance for how to follow the MyPlate diet.

The redesigning of the outdated and often confusing food pyramid marks only the beginning of the Department of Agriculture and Michelle Obama’s healthy-eating campaign.  The first half of the campaign will encourage people to eat more fruits and vegetables, and the second half will teach people to avoid large portions and drink water instead of sugary drinks.

While some nutritionists have criticized that the plate still lacks details like portion sizes, it sure seems like a step in the right direction. The fact that fruits and vegetables take up half of the MyPlate is a concept that most Americans have not embraced in the past, and many are skeptical whether a new diagram, no matter how simple or easy to understand, will change that.

Still, with the U.S.’s obesity rates at a staggering 30% of the adult population and a rapidly increasing 30% of youth, it is about time Americans started paying more attention to their dietary needs and habits.

Images by Medill DC and karimian via Flickr.

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