Food Pyramid Redux: USDA Replaces Pyramid With Plate Model

[ 0 ] June 2, 2011 |

The familiar food pyramid is now extinct; nutrition expert Amanda Goldfarb on why the new plate model is more effective and user-friendly

The pyramid is out and the circle is in. The familiar food pyramid that dictated how Americans should construct their diets is now obsolete. The U.S. Department of Agriculture today released new dietary guidelines that will be portrayed on a circular plate-like diagram, viewable at

“As someone in the nutrition field, I think this is a huge step in the right direction,” said nutrition expert Amanda Goldfarb, who offers more of her thoughts on the new guidelines on her blog at “The previous pyramid was so confusing and nobody understood it. Depicting food on a plate is something EVERYONE can relate to and more importantly, understand.”

The new food plate is the latest piece of First Lady Michelle Obama’s push for nutrition and healthy living. She has been actively promoting “Let’s Move,” a campaign aimed at combating childhood obesity, for the last several months.

The long-standing original 1992 pyramid was recognized to be flawed years ago.  It encouraged consumers to eat six to 11 servings of grains a day, far in excess of today’s recommendation. A new model was released in 2005, but it was widely panned as being too complicated and failed to catch on. Critics pointed out that it didn’t display any actual food and that consumers had to go online to find out the portions of their meals. The new model is considered to be much easier to navigate and understand. The plate cost $2 million to develop and will soon be on display across the country.

Amanda Goldfarb

“ is a user friendly site that offers 10 tips to increase fruit/vegetable intake, limit sugars, and choose lean cuts of meet,” Goldfarb said.  “It also offers plenty of educational materials and interactive tools.”

The new food plate suggests that eaters focus much more on fruits and vegetables.  Those two groups comprise half of the plate, while grains and proteins each take up another quarter.  Another smaller circle is located to the side of the plate and represents a glass of milk or another dairy product.

“I am a huge fan that half the plate is fruits and vegetables, which are the 2 food groups that Americans are not getting enough of,” Goldfarb said.  “I am also a big fan of how the plate shows only ‘protein.’ This leaves it open for the protein to be legumes, beans, tofu, etc, and not just meat.

“While the food plate is definitely a step in the right direction, it is up to nutrition experts, doctors, and dietitians to effectively explain to their clients exactly how to use these new guidelines and promote physical activity.”

Reporting by Kevin Baumer/ staff

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Category: Nutrition, Views on the News

Amanda Goldfarb

About Amanda Goldfarb: Amanda Goldfarb an expert in leading a healthy, nutritious, and balanced life. As a Certified Holistic Health Coach (CHHC, AADP) and Master's Candidate of Nutrition & Dietetics, Amanda has learned from top experts in both [...]
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