The USDA needs to stop redesigning the Food Pyramid. But seriously. They're the department of agriculture, not graphic design; give it a rest! Sure enough, they've done it again, bringing new meaning to the phrase "reinvent the wheel." The new circle-shaped "MyPlate" (that's right, plate, not pyramid) was unveiled Thursday - unbelievable. I did some digging to enrich my complaints, and so without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, a brief history of the USDA's food guides:
The USDA first introduces dietary guidelines.
To help keep Americans healthy during World War II rationing, the Department creates the "Basic 7" food wheel.
Seven groups was no good, so they drop it to four.
The wheel design isn't cutting it, so the Food Pyramid was born - the one I grew up with. It seems to make sense to me, and it's easy to remember visually: the bottom is grains, eat lots of those; then comes fruit and vegetables, eat those about evenly; next is dairy and meat, eat less; finally sweets, eat these least. I did that from memory before inserting the graphic, it's that simple.
It turns out that exercise is a food group, and it's probably as easy to memorize the width of colored strips as it is to learn that pyramids are big on the bottom and smaller up top, so the USDA renovated their masterpiece, replacing it with MyPyramid.
Turns out wheels were pretty cool after all. Back to square one with a carefully-divided serving plate, MyPlate, impossible to recreate from memory (note the subtle differences in portion sizes between groups). And how are we supposed to compare the tiny circle to the wedges, exactly?
Suffice it so say, I'm not pleased. Another pointless redesign, another step away from the 1992 structure that made good sense. What's the next step, the Food Dodecahedron (sorry, the MyDodecahedron)? Here's an idea: drop the budget for the USDA's graphic design team, reinstate the old Food Pyramid, and put the savings into sustainable fuel for the farmers.
It took them 6 years to make the last change. At this rate, each graduating class will have grown up on a different food shape. That's probably not healthy for American unity, it's unclear whether or not it's healthy for our bodies, and it's sure messing with our mental health. Well, mine at least.