Move Over Pyramid, There’s a New Shape in Town

MyPyramid_4c

Sounds like the food pyramid is crumbling — or at least taking a back seat to a new symbol that will help Americans eat right.  On June 2,  the U.S. Department of Agriculture will unveil a new food icon that will replace the current MyPyramid.


If everything goes as planned, I’ll be there at the Washington, DC event and will be live blogging.  I’m also organizing a blog carnival, so you’ll be hearing more about all of this very soon.

You can tune in to view the press conference yourself on June 2 at www.usda.gov/live.   Plus, The press materials and other information will be available at www.cnpp.usda.gov.  Here’s a link to a WebMD article on the new icon.

USDA made an announcement today that Secretary Tom Vilsack will unveil the new food icon at 10:30 a.m. ET on June 2 which will “serve as a reminder to help consumers make healthier food choices.”  There’s been a lot of speculation on what this new tool will be.  I have a pretty good idea, but I’ll wait until June 2 to talk about it.

Today’s press release stated, “The 2010 White House Child Obesity Task Force called for simple, actionable advice to equip consumers with information to help them make healthy food choices. As a result, USDA will be introducing the new food icon to replace the MyPyramid image as the government’s primary food group symbol. It will be an easy-to-understand visual cue to help consumers adopt healthy eating habits consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.”

Hmmm, Wonder if Michelle Obama will be at the event.  Sounds like there’s some coordination with the White House. That’s a good thing.

So this new symbol will replace the pyramid, but it sounds like there will still be a role for MyPyramid:  “MyPyramid will remain available to interested health professionals and nutrition educators in a special section of the new website.”  Ok, that’s fine.  The current visual never seemed to get much traction among consumers.   Sounds like it’s not fully going away, but will still be a tool for health professionals and nutrition educators.

What I’m most excited about is that this new food icon will be part of a bigger program to  help educate the public.  The June 2 event will unveil a “comprehensive nutrition communication initiative that provides consumers with easy-to-understand recommendations, a new website with expanded information, and other tools and resources.”  I’m really interested in what that will include.

So stay tuned.  I’ll be reporting back with more information on what’s unveiled at the press conference and what it means for you.  As always, let me know if you have questions.

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  • This sounds exciting! As a nutritionist myself, I look forward to hearing more about this… Help is desperately needed in every way possible in this area! I’ve just discovered this blog and I’m really impressed, keep it up: Taste and health certainly can co-exist harmoniously, I’ll raise my (iced apricot green tea) glass to that!

  • Athais

    As a nurse, I see many obese patients who are aware of the food pyramid, but just can’t afford to eat that healthy. When one apple costs $1.09 and a candy bar, which gives more calories, costs 75 cents, which do you think poor people are going to choose?

    We, as a nation, need to move away from processed foods. Some people eat chicken nuggets thinking them healthy because they are meat, which is on the food pyramid, but most nuggets are just fillers of corn, wheat, or soybean. When people are mislead to believe that certain foods are healthy, they are doomed to make poor choices.

    I like to point out the advertising for pork, the ‘other white meat’. Neither the FDA or the Surgeon General got on the pork industry for false advertisement. Pork is only as lean as chicken now because chicken is being raised in such confined spaces as to make it’s fat content higher, thus equaling that of pork. Pork is a red meat, yet people on cardiac diets, like my mother-in-law, were mislead with this type of advertising. Yet the government did nothing to stop it.

    We have to face the fact that the meat industry has a great amount of influence upon how the food pyramid, now circle, is made. One year, when the section given to meat was going to be smaller than that for grains, the meat industry raised such a ruckus that they received exactly what they wanted, a section as big as that of grains.

    The government can make as many food pyramids, circles, rectangles, squares, parallelograms, etc. as they want, but the way that food is made needs to be addressed. Not only is the manner in which meat is raised harmful to people’s health, the manner in which they are slaughtered is also harmful. When I was growing up, you never heard of food poisoning from meat. It was always from mayonnaise. Now, not a year goes by that there isn’t at least one episode of food poisoning due to the way that meat is slaughtered.

    Chicken used to be about 8% fat, but is now somewhere around 25-28% fat. Pork is no better. Beef also has a higher fat content due to cattle being raised in feedlots and being feed corn. Let’s not forget all those wonderful hormones that are ingested by or injected into animals in order to make them grow fatter. Could it be that those very same hormones are doing the same thing to the population of the United States? Could it be that the reason why girls and boys are becoming sexually mature at eight instead of thirteen is because of the hormones?

    We need to go back to the old way of ranching and farming, which would mean no antibiotics would be necessary to keep the animals healthy. They would be free to roam, the meat would be leaner, and there wouldn’t be any hormones ingested by our children to make them all plump like the cattle, pigs, and chickens they are eating now.

    All the food pyramids in the world are not going to prevent obesity as long as the real reasons for the problems are not addressed. To me, this is just a bandage hiding the infection.

  • Nice analogy. Thanks for sharing. I learned something new today.

  • With all the lobbying of our government by companies involved in the production of processed food and agricultural products, it seems we will never have an accurate nutritional guide. The greed in this country outweighs the moral conscience of establishing affordable access to wholesome fresh foods. The price of organic produce and grass fed, cage free meats continues to go up. Manufacturers of processed food see the value of getting into the organic food trend, and you see more options for these type of foods now in your local groceries. This country needs to be more concerned with the nutritional values and make strides toward a whole foods industry that doesn’t cut corners, and provides the freshest food possible. Price matters also! Here’s to your health!

  • Ooooh, I can’t wait to see it, and it’s only a few days away. I wonder if it’s a major overhaul or just a little tweak on the system.

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