Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Goodbye Food Pyramid

Today it was announced that the Obama Administration getting ready to ditch the Food Pyramid

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The Obama Administration is getting ready to ditch the Food Pyramid, a symbol of healthy eating for the last two decades.

In its place, officials are "dishing up" a simple, plate-shaped symbol, sliced into wedges for basic food groups and half-filled with fruits and vegetables.

Beside the plate is a smaller circle for dairy, suggesting a glass of low-fat milk or perhaps a yogurt cup.

The revised pyramid is part of the administration's crusade against obesity, led by first lady Michelle Obama.

This caused Mike and I to wax nostalgically about the previous Food Pyramid (adopted by the USDA in 1992) and what we thought was far superior “Four Food Groups”- which we grew up with.

Of course, this lead to some research and I have learned some very interesting facts about the USDA and their attempts to make recommendations on the food we eat-

  • In 1916, the USDA published its first food guide, Food for Young Children.
  • In 1943 the "basic seven" guideline that President Franklin Roosevelt introduced was deemed obsolete because of its complexity and was replaced by the much simpler "basic four". This consists of milk, meats, breads, and fruits & vegetables.
  • In the 1970s, there was a fifth group added, fats, sugars, and alcohol. People were advised to only have this on a restricted basis though.

So the “Basic Four” has been around a lot longer than I originally imagined (in effect fro 50 years) and at one point…..BOOZE was added as the 5th Food Group.  How did I miss THAT in School?

Personally, I am of the mind….if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…but bureaucracy needs to reinvent itself every now and then to re-justify it’s existence. 

The “Four/Five Basics” was perfect, but to be fair….the Food Pyramid was OK, although a little completed.  Who knows what the USDA will put out now, they should have just left well enough alone and focused the money elsewhere.

And for those who are wondering – This is how my Food Pyramid turned out.



  1. The problem with the food pyramid (any iteration) is that it's designed for the food industry. I think we can see where that's gotten us in the last 20 years. Nobody needs eleven servings of bread and 3 servings of red meat per day. [Nobody needs red meat at all...it just tastes delicious, same as sugar or alcohol.]

    All that said, this is the kind of bureaucracy I can handle--they do some "research" and make recommendations, but they aren't mandating anything (AFAIK). We should be so lucky if this were the ONLY thing our gov't did all day long.

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