Food Pyramid Gets Kudos and Raspberries
By George Anderson
It’s hard to make everyone happy.
When the USDA unveiled its new dietary guidelines program (AKA the new food pyramid) earlier in the week, the agency touted the simplicity of the visual as necessary “to encourage
consumers to make healthier food choices and to be active every day.”
The pyramid uses a series of vertical, colored bars to illustrate various food groups and their importance to a healthy diet. For example, the slimmest bar in yellow is for oils
and fats. The USDA recommends consumers stay away from solid fats such as butter, stick margarine, shortening and lard while getting what little is needed from this group from
more healthful sources such as fish and nuts.
Some believe, however, that the new graphic is not as clear as it could be in stressing the relative importance of certain food groups while warning consumers off of less healthful
Count Ruth Kava, director of nutrition for the American Council on Science and Health, among that group. She told MarketWatch, “I don’t think the layout is as obvious
in terms of the amounts of food one should eat as the old pyramid was.”
Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, thinks the pyramid falls short in communicating all that has been learned about
proper nutrition in recent years.
“With rising obesity rates as one of the biggest health problems facing the country, USDA should’ve given clear advice about how to cut calories and which foods to eat less of,”
she said. “They missed that chance with this new pyramid.”
Food manufacturers, on the whole, are positive about the new graphic and dietary guidelines from the government.
Manly Mopus, president and CEO for the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA), said in a released statement, “The new Food Guidance System provides an unparalleled opportunity
for government, the food and beverage industry, nutrition experts and others to help Americans live healthier lifestyles.”
GMA is sponsoring a nationwide education campaign for children. The association estimates it will reach up to 4 million children.
Moderator’s Comment: What do you think about the new food pyramid? How can retailers and those involved in selling food use it to educate and serve consumers?
George Anderson – Moderator
- Johanns Reveals USDA’s Steps to a Healthier You – USDA
- New Food Pyramid Gets Mixed Reviews
- Food, Beverage Companies Will Use New Food Guidelines To Promote Healthy Lifestyles
– Grocery Manufacturers of America