Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mother Knows Best

Two news items in the last week have been particularly relevant for those of us interested in healthy eating: The United States Department of Agriculture retired the venerable Food Pyramid, and U.S. News and World Report announced its picks for the best diet plans.

The USDA started recommending "the four food groups" to Americans in the 1950's.  The Food Pyramid was invented in Sweden in the 1970's and a revised version was adopted by the USDA in 1992.  A stylized, updated MyPyramid was implemented in 2005, and on May 31 this year MyPyramid was replaced by MyPlate.

MyPlate places greater emphasis on vegetables than the previous plans and urges smaller portion sizes.  Better yet, by showing how much of each food type should actually occupy a dinner plate, it makes meal planning much simpler.  Unlike the "pyramid schemes," even a small child can understand the graphics.

The diet picked by U.S. News and World Report as the best diet overall is the DASH diet, whose recommendations are very similar to the MyPlate model.  The writers acknowledge, however, that the best diet for each person is the one that he or she can stick to, and they provide advice on finding the diet that's most workable for you.

In the end, though, the evidence seems to boil down to the same thing our mothers told us when we were small: "Eat your vegetables!!"

“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.” ~Doug Larson (English runner and gold medalist at the 1924 Olympic Games)


  1. I think that the MyPlate plan is a huge improvement for our diet. I have been including a lot more vegetables into my diet and it makes a huge difference :)


  2. Yes, and making the plan easy to understand should be a big help in getting people to adopt it. I never liked that pyramid!!