Big news – the USDA is on their way to replacing the awful MyPyramid version of the Food Pyramid. The current version, which many agree to be impossible to interpret (not just for laypeople, but even for nutritionists), looks like this:

Introduced in 2005

The 2005 version came with a website that helped you interpret its confusing imagery. While this version was a slight improvement upon the old one (see below), because it ranked foods within each group (with better choices at the bottom of each gradient, and worst choices at the top) and also included physical activity, critics (Marion Nestle, for one) agreed that for most people it was indecipherable.

Doesn’t ring a bell? Most people remember this older version of the Food Pyramid:

Introduced today, the “MyPlate” diagram is similar to what other countries (e.g. Mexico, the United Kingdom, etc.) have been doing for years.

My initial thoughts:

  • easily interpretable – even for children, as Michelle Obama noted
  • this can serve as a visual guideline at every meal
  • huge emphasis on fruits and veggies
  • lacks visuals of actual foods – if you aren’t already familiar with the food groups, you’ll have to look at the website
  • lack of serving sizes…plates are not all one size and research has shown that over-sized plates (popularized by restaurants) encourage people to eat more
  • I’m happy that “protein” has replaced “meat” but this ignores the facts that a) protein is a nutrient, not a food group, and b) that protein can come from any of the other categories on the plate (mostly grains or dairy).
  • overall, this is pretty vague

I’m interested to see if they add anything to this version or the website. For more information, check out or listen to this NPR announcement.