Tuesday, May 31, 2011

U.S. Replaces Food Pyramid with 'Dinner Plate'

In Canada, we've got our good old Food Guide, which you might consider the cousin of the U.S. Food Pyramid. Our Food guide has had it's share of re-vamps every few years but I think most people would agree it's easy to follow and well laid out. But is it doing it's job? And how about that Food Pyramid? In the U.S., it has been decided that the long-standing symbol of healthy eating, the Food Pyramid, simply isn't pulling it's weight, so it's being replaced. Poor pyramid - it's not it's fault, people just aren't into it anymore (or they never were) and it definitely shows on their waistlines.

Being unveiled this Thursday is a new circular 'dinner plate' shaped guide which is meant to be far simpler and easier to understand. It is meant to give consumers an easy reminder of what they should be eating every day. It will be sliced into the food groups, showing how much of each one people should have on their plates at each meal, each day. Half the plate, as per recommendations, will be filled with fruits and vegetables. This recommendation is the main message that the federal government is trying to underscore in their fight against obesity so that all individuals can eat healthy and be healthy.

American nutritionists aren't too upset about the pyramid being ditched. They feel that while it is familiar, it is complicated and confusing for consumers, so it is not used as it is meant to be. Moreover, the pyramid doesn't distinguish between healthy and unhealthy food options. According to Walter C. Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, “It’s going to be hard not to do better than the current pyramid, which basically conveys no useful information,”. Harsh! But perhaps true.

I can't wait to see what this new guide will look like and to find out if it achieves it's goal. If so, we might end up seeing similar changes to our food guide. Of course, all of this will take a while to discover, but it will be all the more interesting to watch.