MyPlate Replaces the Food Pyramid

A simple representation of a dining plate divided into the basic food groups will be the new guide for the nutritional needs of Americans.

, first lady Michelle Obama has scrapped the famous food-pyramid, created in 1992, and replaced the triangular icon with a circular one: a simple representation of a dining plate divided into the basic food groups will be the new guide for the nutritional needs of Americans.

It is called MyPlate and was created by the Department of Agriculture with help from the first lady’s anti-obesity team and federal health officials.

The plate was designed as a component of Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity; the aim of the campaign is to remind Americans about the basics of a healthy diet and exercise.

The new icon is split into four portions: fruit, vegetables, grains, and protein. A smaller circle is set beside the large plate for the dairy portion.

"It answers the simple question, 'What should my plate look like at any given meal?'" said Baltimore nutritionist Monica Reinagel.

According to the Agricultural Department, focus groups were conducted in order to develop the new icon. The focus groups included about 4,500 people, including children.

Officials have stated that they have big plans for MyPlate. It will be implemented into a health campaign which is meant to relay important dietary guidelines to consumers by putting emphasis on one message at a time.

This is a part of the first message, which is going to encourage Americans to make half of their plate include fruits and vegetables.

Phases which have been planned for the future will include warning consumers to stay away from oversized portions, to eat less, and to drink water instead of sugary beverages.

Nutritionists, who have criticized the food pyramid for being misleading and hard to understand, are warily approving the plate.

“It’s better than the pyramid but that’s not saying a lot,” said Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at New York University.

Nestle approved how easy to understand the plate is, but she disliked the large section of the plate labeled “protein” as it would be confusing to consumers; grains and dairy are also important sources of protein, she said, and most Americans get more than enough protein—more than they need.

The emphasis on fruits and vegetables, however, was a significant step according to Nestle.

“Americans aren’t used to eating this way so this is a big change,” Nestle said.