My Thoughts On The FDA’s “My Plate”

The FDA recently released it’s replacement for the Food Pyramid, which is called My Plate.

I have long been a believer that the Food Pyramid offered poor advice on how to eat a healthy and sustainable diet.  Let alone did it do any good for those looking to lose weight.  I’m sorry, but if your diet consist of mostly breads, cereals and corn…you’re not going to be dropping body fat or feeling better.

Here is the “old” Food Pyramid:

The new My Plate:

Here are the pros and cons, in my humble opinion, of the FDA’s new recommendations:

PROS

-Grains are no longer the largest percentage of food intake.  Although barely, vegetables have passed up grains, which is a good thing because no ever got fat from eating too many vegetables.

-I haven’t been able to find a definitive answer, but I’ve heard that the “dairy” off to the side implies that it’s optional.  If that’s the case, then I consider this a pro seeing as how dairy can be highly inflammatory to some people’s bodies.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a cold glass of milk, but for many people it can be a sneaky way to get in a bunch of extra calories and can be giving their digestive tract fits without them even realizing it.

I’m not demonizing it, I’m just saying I think it’s a good thing if it’s not “required” as a part of the FDA’s recommendations.

That’s pretty much it, as far as I can see, for the pros.

CONS:

-Grains continue to be recommended as a very large percentage of a “healthy” meal.  Maybe it’s due to effective lobbying, but I don’t understand how anyone can recommend consuming that much grain on a regular basis in an effort to eat healthy.

Along with the grain suggestion, it’s recommended that half of your grains come from whole grains.  So as long as you eat a bowl of oatmeal for every bowl of Lucky Charms, you’re good!  Oh wait…I forgot that Lucky Charms are a whole grain now……

-Protein is the second smallest portion.  Protein happens to be the building block for lean muscle as well as the macronutrient with the smallest calorie to gram ratio (it carries much fewer calories for each gram) as well as tends to have the biggest impact on your metabolism, but yet it still gets placed way down the priority list.

-Where are the fats?  No nuts, avocados or healthy oils to be found.  I say “boo” to that!

-My guess is that, although I’d like to believe what I mentioned above, the dairy is recommended to drink at every meal.  And like I mentioned above, this may not be a good idea for a lot of people.

-Over 75% of the plate consists of carbohydrates (grains, vegetables, fruits).  This is a great recipe for weight gain as well as for feeling bloated, lethargic and, in general, lousy.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, of the pros and cons.  I’m actually shooting from the hip a bit with this.  But I’m interested in hearing from you all.  Any pros or cons that you see to the new My Plate?  Post them in the comments below and keep the conversation rolling!

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10 thoughts on “My Thoughts On The FDA’s “My Plate”

  1. Your last statement hit the nail on the head, 75% of the plate is carbs! This truely will make you feel bloated, lethargic and lousy. What do we need to do in order to get the fda to recognize the importance of protein???

    • I don’t know Jennifer. It seems like the FDA is bound and determined to demonize any decent amount of protein, while all to happy to shove corn based products down our throats. It a shame really…especially when you consider the fact that they are supposed to be setting good guidelines and standards for our diets.

  2. I have what might not be an answer, but a potential thought on why grains are still so highly pushed into our diet. Yes, they are somewhat necessary in a diet, but you can get fiber and carbohydrates from fruit and vegetables, so we don’t have to be so reliant on the grain section. Where I work they have a “Green Office” and every so often they show movies on different subjects about being “green.” Sometimes it is about food, other times recycling, etc. The latest one (I did not attend, but this is what my coworkers told me it consisted of). There were two farms near each other, a commercial farm and a regular Joe Farmer farm. Joe uses natural and traditional farming methods, while the commercial farm uses man made seeds to produce “different” and “unique” forms of corn (this was strictly about corn). I believe they are larger, produce more crop, and don’t have the unfortunate rotational season as regular corn. There is a law suit or was against the Joe Farmer because his crops were starting to turn out like the commercial farm because some of their seed “blew onto his land” and he started to harvest it. Long story short, all corn in the United States now comes from these commercial farms. That’s why ingredients on some things will say including one of the following canola oil, and a couple other oils that I can not recall because these farms also own these products. As well as high fructose corn syrup, etc. All of this goes back to one large industry.

    I might be getting the items wrong and not have the proper comparison ingredients, but I think my point has been made. Clearly we know that fruits and vegetables (and preferably local ones) are better fiber and carbohydrate sources than breads, crackers, etc. Yet, this industry is probably either supported heavily by the FDA or support the FDA and voila why grains and breads, etc. will ALWAYS be suggested to be a large portion of what Americans eat. If I can find the name of the movie and the specifics I will, but I really can not remember them. Just a thought. 🙂

    • @Lindsay-I think you’re dead on with your point.

      It sounds like the movie you’re talking about is Food Inc. It’s a fantastic movie and incredibly eye opening, and I would highly recommend checking it out. The company you mentioned is Monsanto who, like you said, has a patent on certain modified seeds. If those seed happen to blow into a neighboring farm, they can sue farmers for unknowingly selling their patented seeds. This is putting a lot of local farmers out of business and consolidating the “grain industry”. It’s really terrible.

      Thanks for chiming in. I appreciate it!

      • Michael, I never really commented on your remark about corn 🙂 It was once asked a question (by someone who is also against chemicalizing, and that includes providing hormones, antibiotics, GMO grains, etc. etc. to our livestock) have you ever seen cows searching on their own to eat grains of corn? “No” is the answer. Cows prefer to eat the greens growing in a field – a variety of grasses and perhaps what might be considered green weeds. The person seemed to know that one additional reason cows are given antibiotics, besides the squalor of pens in stockyards is that in the Dairy business, cows are fed corn grain for feed. It is not natural for them. To control the inflammation and any reactive disease from this in their stomachs they are given anti-biotics on big Dairy farms. This, naturally, shows up in our milk from non grass fed milking cows. Too long for this forum to go into all the other things put in their bodies. Children and adults who find themselves lactose intolerant, may actually be reacting to the drugs in their pasteurized and ultra-pasteurized milk. Many people can tolerate milk when they find a clean small dairy farm near them. Hard to come by, however.

    • And your comment is a good one, in my eyes, Lindsay. As a Holistic Health Coach, I agree that the new “MY PLATE” is an improvement, but have the same questions. I just want to emphasize that complex carbs from plants and brown rice, beans etc. are really great for you. Your need for protein is important, but the amt. (like water) varies based on your individual needs and lifestyle (amt. of activity, weight, climate, etc). I have studied over 100 different dietary theories, and many different nutrient styles suit different cultures. When I began I thought I was a Raw Food person. I think I would classify myself doing best as a Piscatartian – I eat Fish a few times a week, and Basmati Rice, and some shellfish – always with plenty of vegies and fruits, the other days. Oils, and good fats are very important for us in small amounts. I too don’t like the Dairy catagory for the same reasons. I did not know that I was mildly lactose intolerant until I fasted, and slowly returned things to my diet. I can eat good cheese – with no chemicals. Also, I take no vitamins, and try to avoid all enriched carbs or anything. I believe if it was not delivered by nature with the chemical nutrients they are adding, just to say it has these “un-naturally” present vitamins – it has been processed and chemicalized. I believe in Bio-Individuality (different recommendations for different people), Whole Foods, smaller portions, Complex carbs and a slightly smaller serving of Protein than advocated by most. If someone is a vegetarian and does not eat either red meat, or any shell fish during the week – they need to find a source of B12 – hopefully not thru vitamin supplements. Most important is to drink lots of water, breathe deeply, move and get some exercise, along with weight or resistance excercises – at any age – never too late. I also eat things in season, and from my surroundings. That means less citrus in the winter – I know it’s scary, but there are other things preserved naturally (like dried, or fermented) that you can enjoy. I did have some grapefruit on my salad tonite, with my Wild Sockeye Salmon, line caught and frozen (no chemicals) – but, yummy – you don’t need to be absolute every day of the week – just enjoy, and chew slowly. Oh, had Organic asparagus and brocoli also. Sorry this is way too long, but it’s an important subject. The govt. needs to focus more on prevention thru good nutrition – and we would spend much less on Healthcare costs. I am giving a Presentation to a Regional School faculty soon. I wish it were an Elementary school, as Dr. David Katz has a great DVD “NUTRITION DETECTIVES”, and I’d love to show it to them. His mission is improving nutrition for our children to fight the growing health concerns, like obesity, diabetes and hi cholesterol, etc.. He did this at the Yale-Griffin Reseach Fndtn, and I believe is out of Yale New Haven. Basically the longer the list of ingredients in an item – the further it is from the original natural food. Hope I have quoted him entirely correctly:)

      To your health,
      June

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