The New MyPlate Icon Reactions

On June 2nd, Michelle Obama and the USDA released the MyPlate graphic, which is a new nutritional tool to help Americans better understand and develop good eating habits. It replaces the government's Food Pyramid released 20 years ago as a simpler and easier way for both kids and adults alike to eat better. "When it comes to eating, what's more simple than a plate?" Mrs. Obama has said. Most agree that MyPlate is a vast improvement over the pyramid but some nutrition experts feel as though there are some cracks in the plate.

* Dr. Andrew Weil, Founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, says that there are some flaws with the MyPlate graphic. He says, "Overall, I fear another opportunity has been lost to give Americans the best up-to-date information about what constitutes an ideal diet." (Huffington Post) While he appreciates the fact that vegetables and protein are emphasized as they are the "foundation of a healthy diet", no distinction is made between fruit juices and fruits nor between intact grains and grains that can be ground into flour. Both fruits and true grains (as opposed to fruit juice and pulverized grains, respectively) contain more nutrients and slow digestion as well as stabilize blood sugar levels.

* The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine agrees that the US needs a clear and concise graphic to enable healthier eating. Heart disease and other diet-related diseases make up more than 60% of the deaths in the United States and approximately 68% of Americans are obese. MyPlate offers a great solution for that but it is at odds with federal food subsidies. PCRM say that "the federal government is subsidizing meat and cheese products with billions of tax dollars and giving almost no support to fruits and vegetables. Congress has to reform the Farm Bill to support healthy diets." Read more here.

* Nancy Chapman, Executive Director of Soyfoods Association of North America says, "MyPlate is straightforward and actionable; adults and children alike will be able to understand what a healthy plate should look like. The new icon simplifies the recommendations in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines that are, more than ever, relevant for all Americans regardless of age, cultural preferences, or dietary needs." Read more here.

What are your thoughts on MyPlate? Do you think it will help encourage better eating habits?