Thursday, June 2, 2011

The USDA's New Plate Controversy

Have you seen the USDA's new replacement for the food pyramid that came out today?  They replaced the food pyramid with a plate that shows how much a person should eat for their daily requirements. Personally, I love the new plate idea as it is easier for people to grasp of what really needs to be eaten at each meal.
But, I must say I love the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine's (PCRM) Power Plate much better that was introduced last year.  Plus, it is geared towards the vegetarian/vegan.  PCRM dietitians developed the Power Plate food guide, which is a simple, colorful graphic depicting a plate divided into four food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. There are no confusing portion sizes and food hierarchies to follow; the Power Plate simply asks people to eat a variety of all four food groups each day.  For those that don't know, the PCRM is a non-profit doctor's organization that tried to sue two federal agencies for ignoring a vegetarian alternative to the traditional food pyramid, despite skyrocketing obesity and diabetes rates.  It seems to me that the message was taken into account in some fashion to change the pyramid to the plate by the USDA.

Although the government is moving in the right direction with the plate idea, there is still a lot of controversy that needs to be heard.  The new federal MyPlate food icon that recommends Americans fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables is completely at odds with federal agriculture subsidies as it promotes production of high-fat, high-calorie food products. The PCRM points out that more than 60 percent of agricultural subsidies in recent history have directly and indirectly supported meat and dairy production. Less than 1 percent have gone to fruits and vegetables.

“The USDA's new plate icon couldn't be more at odds with federal food subsidies,” says PCRM staff nutritionist Kathryn Strong, M.S., R.D. “The plate icon advises Americans to limit high-fat products like meat and cheese, but the federal government is subsidizing these very products with billions of tax dollars and giving almost no support to fruits and vegetables. Congress has to reform the Farm Bill to support healthy diets.”

I know, I know, small steps right?!?!  Just wish that two of the most important foods that should be eaten for a healthy lifestyle are the most unsupported.  What are your thoughts on all of this?

1 comment:

  1. I really wonder if the government wants America to be healthy. Some of the things I read and hear are very disturbing. I like the power plate much better too. :o)
    BTW, I never thanked you for the refried beans recipe. I haven't tried it yet, but I am going to very soon. It sounds so easy and very good! I think I could eat Mexican every day. :o)