We’re all familiar with the multi-colored food pyramid, to which we were introduced at such a young age. In fact it is a nutritional tool used by many countries across the globe. However, public officials and nutrition advocates have been brainstorming on ways to revamp the pyramid to be more accessible as a tool. The old food pyramid consisted of a grains base, fruits & veggies comprising the second tier, dairy & proteins the third tier, capped by fats oils and sweets. In 2005 we were introduced to a new pyramid, outfitted with a running man and stairs. Instead of tiers, the various food groups were represented by color bands with varying widths, followed by the daily recommended servings. It was an honest attempt to incorporate physical activity to our association with health and food, unfortunately the new design seemed to fall short in terms of accessibility, lingering in ambiguity. How exactly are people supposed to associate shooting rays of color with a plate of food? A plate of food… that is the new idea behind the soon-to-be revealed replacement of the food pyramid. The circular symbol will still represent the four basic food groups, but will also include a side “dish” for dairy products. The plate is supposed to be able to help people to construct a healthy meal based on the proportions on the plate of the various groups, acting as a sort of blueprint for a healthy diet. This is a considerable leap from the 2005 eye-brow furrowing rainbow rays.
The main concern is that these nutritional guidelines repeatedly fail to distinguish between healthy and harmful options. There is a difference between refined white bread and 100% whole grain. We can only hope that this new tool will be easier to digest.