USDA's MyPlate Unveiled

The longstanding government's healthy eating guide, the USDA Food Pyramid, has gotten a complete makeover as of this week. Unveiled today, the guide is no longer a pyramid, but rather a plate displaying a proportional meal with generalized food groups. Interestingly, recommendations about sugars and oils don't appear directly on the pyramid/plate configuration -- as they used to on the pyramid -- anymore. Instead those food types have been relegated to the categories of "Oils" and "Empty Calories", and can be found towards the bottom of a "Related Topics" side bar after you click on one of the foods on the MyPlate (and away from the homepage) for more information.

Perhaps most tellingly, prominent words of advice underneath the newly revealed plate include "Enjoy your food, but eat less" and "Drink water instead of sugary drinks."

What do you think about the overhauled guide? Will there be pushback from the companies that produce the foods that now fall into the "Empty Calories" category? Will Americans finally have a clear sense of what to put on their real plates, or will confusion linger?

UVa Dining's Nutritionist, Paula Caravati, has long touted a plate-based method of promoting healthy eating, in particular adapting such recommendations provided by the American Institute for Cancer Research as aiming for a meal composed of less than one-third animal protein. AICR illustrates this transition to a "New American Plate" with the following images:

We hope that UVa students and community members will keep some of these guidelines in mind when making healthy food choices!

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