Viewpoint: MyPlate sets the nutrition table


As far as I can tell, the U.S. Department of Agriculture thinks Americans are kind of dumb.

What scares me the most is I think they’re right.

You see, they just came out with the new MyPlate program — a program changing the 20-year-old food pyramid we all grew up with. This plate has four compartments with fruits and vegetables taking up half the plate and grains and proteins taking the other half. Along the side (opposite the cute fork for added reality) there’s a side of dairy, which in my mind represents a glass of milk.

Don’t get me wrong, the picture is adorable and a lot easier to understand compared to the towering pyramid, but why exactly did the pyramid not work?

Now, most people joining me in complaining about the new MyPlate program believe it oversimplifies the importance of a truly balanced meal.

They say it ignores the good fats (like avocados) and allows people to choose potatoes over broccoli (no guys, french fries aren’t actually a vegetable).

One lady even mentioned how we don’t even really need carbs to survive. Maybe my body could function, but I could not live without carbs (spaghetti, anyone?).

However, those problems they complain about are not the ones I complain about.

Here’s my beef with MyPlate (p.s. the beef would go in the protein triangle).

The USDA abandoned the classic pyramid because they said it over-complicated things.

Over-complicated? Shoot, guys, we’ve been outsmarted by a triangle.

Let me take a second to explain the old, disposable pyramid.

The stuff you should eat a lot of sits at the bottom of the pyramid (it’s largest point). The stuff you should eat the least of sits at the top of the pyramid (its smallest point).

Did I lose anyone? Didn’t think so, but hold on, it might get complicated.

Next to each section, it states how many servings of each food group you should get. I know I’m adding numbers into this, but stick with me.

The largest part says you should have 6 to 11 servings. This means you should eat 6 to 11 servings of the group.

Are you still with me? I thought so.

At the top of the pyramid, where it’s the smallest, we use words to tell us how much we should eat. It says “Use Sparingly.” That means you shouldn’t eat it often.

Now, maybe I’m smarter than the average college student (I’m not) but I think I understood the pyramid when they taught it to me in elementary school.

It isn’t complicated, but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s super complicated.

Look at it this way. I read a statistic, which I hope is high, that 64 percent of Americans are obese. Now, this is not BYU’s number, but it is America’s.

Somewhere in the 64 percent, 16 to 33 percent are children. When the food pyramid first came out, I don’t think they knew what a non-medically induced obese child was. Now, it’s nearly common.

So, the pyramid didn’t work. In fact, maybe it failed.

Now, I’m not putting the weight of this epidemic on the poor, crumbling pyramid. I’m sure it has something to do with our new sedentary jobs, fast-paced life style and the fact that I just ate a $5 box from Taco Bell all by myself (Yum!).

I guess what I’m trying to say is, good luck MyPlate, I hope you do better than your late friend Pyramid. Maybe the circle will inspire us to be better, or maybe the lack of numbers with help math catastrophes like me understand what you want me to know.

And Pyramid, I hope you have fun in retirement. I’ve tracked down your long lost relatives in Egypt — visit them, you’ll fit right in.

Allison Goett is the opinion editor for The Daily Universe. This viewpoint represents her opinion and not necessarily that of The Daily Universe, BYU, its administration or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


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