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IPFS News Link • Food

'MyPlate,' the USDA's 'Food Pyramid' Replacement, Is Also a Dud


A new government study reveals that 3 out of 4 Americans have no idea what the government's MyPlate dietary guide is. The study, Awareness of the MyPlate Plan: United States, 2017–March 2020, published last week by the Centers for Disease Control's National Center for Health Statistics, says that MyPlate, the much-ballyhooed successor to the USDA's Food Pyramid, is virtually unknown among the eating public.

"More than a decade after Agriculture Department officials ditched the pyramid, few Americans have heard of MyPlate, a dinner plate-shaped logo that emphasizes fruits and vegetables," the Associated Press reported last week.

The study authors surveyed more than 9,000 Americans over 16, asking them if they had heard of MyPlate and, if so, whether they had ever used it. Overwhelmingly, the study found they had not. According to the data, only one in four American adults has ever heard of MyPlate; fewer than one in eight Americans "had tried to follow" MyPlate's dietary recommendations—including, in the latter case, fewer than 1 in 25 men.

MyPlate, the study explains, is the federal government's "primary educational tool to communicate federal dietary guidance." It seeks "to improve food choices and diet quality by providing science-based nutrition education and advice." The guidance "promotes whole fruits, a variety of vegetables, whole grains, a variety of protein foods, and low-fat or fat-free dairy or fortified soy alternatives, with limited added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium."

After MyPlate's debut, Harvard researchers called it "a good move," expressing hope the switch from triangular pyramid to round plate would "nudge Americans away from meals dominated by meat and starch and towards meals made up mostly of plant-based foods."