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America Promotes Healthy Eating

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America Promotes Healthy Eating

Kudos to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) for putting out new dietary recommendations that, seemingly, aren’t likely to sit well with Big Food. “Enjoy your food, but eat less”, “Drink water instead of sugary drinks”, “Key Consumer Message: Make half your plate fruits and vegetables”, proclaims the new USDA dietary website. ChooseMyPlate.gov was rolled out this week as the controversial Food Pyramid was replaced by the Food Plate.

“The plate does a better job of reflecting current thinking about healthy diets than previous guides. Its four sectors are unequal. Vegetables get the most space, and dairy – a discretionary choice – is off to the side”, wrote nutrition and public policy expert Marion Nestle in the San Francisco Chronicle. “You are to pile half your plate with fruit and vegetables, and a quarter with grains (half of them whole grains). All these come from plants.”

“Meat” is nowhere to be seen. Click on the “Protein” section of the plate, however, and you learn that this foods group includes “all foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds”. Which leaves the door open to many options, including a 100-percent plant-based diet.

Now, the main question that remains is whether MyPlate, or any other governement dietary recommendations, can truly have an impact on people’s eating choices. Such factors as food access, prices, cooking skills and entrenched habits are unlikely to be impacted by the USDA’s well-meaning advice. Big Food’s marketing messages for industrial, unhealthy foods are also unlikely to abate, although one can expect to see them incorporate some tailored version of the new USDA policy to fit their corporate strategy.

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Read more: Blogs, Diet & Nutrition, Food, News & Issues, The Green Plate,

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Laetitia Mailhes

Laetitia Mailhes is a French-born journalist. After many years as the technology and innovation correspondent of the French "Financial Times" in San Francisco, she decided to focus on what truly matters to her: sustainable food and farming. Find more articles and videos on her blog, The Green Plate Blog.

40 comments

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5:27PM PDT on Jun 14, 2011

why not just have manufacturers not make the products not good for us...

why not have manufacturers make healthy food affordable for all...

10:25AM PDT on Jun 14, 2011

Need to eat less meat!

12:27PM PDT on Jun 12, 2011

I'll stick to the mediterranean (diet) healthy way of eating.

4:44AM PDT on Jun 9, 2011

Hi Kirsten - as you know, because you practice compassion, you don't need to look at words in an article to find my reference - one can just... look around, look at the billions upon billions of animals who are being brutalized in an effort to save money and make even more. This process is destroying our health, humanity and planet. I see this new pyramid in an opposite way as you do - I see it doing a lot of good, helping to extinguish all the sick lies we've been told, helping to save animals, our health, the planet...

3:54AM PDT on Jun 9, 2011

James -

I'm sorry - can you point out the reference here in this article? I'm afraid I can't find it.

10:49AM PDT on Jun 8, 2011

I, for one, think it's better this new system is better.

4:53AM PDT on Jun 8, 2011

kirsten - what's being condemned is the fact that animals, by the billions, are being thrown into boxes and crates, thrown into hell... and this just seems to be all fine and dandy! I'm thrilled by this development to encourage us to improve our health, humanity and planet.

1:16PM PDT on Jun 7, 2011

ty

11:24AM PDT on Jun 7, 2011

noted, thanks!

11:14AM PDT on Jun 7, 2011

noted, thanks!

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