Monday, June 13, 2011

Choosing My Plate

a suburban greenmom contemplates a plate...

Over the past couple of weeks my Google Reader has been full of posts about the USDA’s new dietary guidelines, aka The Plate.

I have been reading these with interest. I’m not sure why, because it’s all sort of irrelevant to me personally in a lot of ways. Mostly because I know that anything that comes from the government has a LOT of weird stuff going on in terms of lobbyists and Other Bizarre Machinations influencing what eventually is displayed for the humble American people. But…I’m interested anyway.

So check out some of these links…Andy Bellati guesting at Appetite for Profit has a lot to say about the Plate, including the very pointed question of why “dairy” gets is own happy little spot on the diagram, since milk and cheese’s main dietary contributions are the high amount of protein they have (protein already has a spot on the plate) and the much-needed calcium they provide (which is also highly available, and far more absorbable, in many green veggies). The answer to that pointed question? Dairy lobbying. Michele at Appetite for Profit also has some stuff to get off her chest—asking why we can’t have MyPolicy rather than MyPlate.

The other major objection many have with the MyPlate diagram is how incongruous it is with where the government subsidies go—check out this highly blink-worthy infographic showing clearly the disparity.

And of course Marion Nestle, goddess of all things foodpolitical (or patron saint, anyway), has her own take on it as well as a lot of great links that I’m not going to repeat here.

And last but not least, my personal favorite: Stephen Colbert mourns the loss of his favorite Egyptian mortuary-based nutritional diagram.

So… what do you guys think of MyPlate? Is it just so much worthless government posturing? Or a step in the right direction?

--Jenn the Greenmom


Chile said...

It's very much a reflection of the powerful lobbies in government, as well as the heavy representation of the livestock and dairy industries in the USDA. I much prefer PCRM's version of the plate (which came out first): Power Plate.

Jenn the Greenmom said...

Yeah, now THAT is a sensible suggestion! I like it.

It came out first? I didn't know. (I doubt many people did!) Did the USDA "swipe" the concept and reappropriate it for their own purposes? I can't believe it's coincidence...

Chile said...

I think Dr. Barnard mentioned it in his book - 21 Day Weight Loss Kickoff - that I just read. Unfortunately, I had to return it to the library but I did find a reference to PCRM suing the government over not offering a veg alternative to "MyPyramid." It seems this new plate version may be in response to that.

Simply Authentic said...

As a health educator, I feel like it's a step in a better direction. We encourage our students to read Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle, but we also discuss and have an assignment on the basic nutritional guidelines in an attempt to provide an all sides perspective. The nice thing about the plate is it's easier to see and understand than the most recent pyramids. It ironically reminds me of some of the first visuals used for the guidelines, but the one other good thing is finally 50% of the recommendations are fruits and veggies, which is wonderful to see in our society that is so protein, sugar, and carb overloaded... While the new plate might not be ideal and I agree that it's still including lobbyist input, it's much better than what we've had for the last 10-15 years.

Dmarie said...

*chuckle* love this: "a LOT of weird stuff." you said it!! can't wait to find the time to check out your links. thx!!

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Oh I so agree!!


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