A brief history of official dietary recommendations

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The USDA introduces its food guide pyramid



The USDA modifies its food guide pyramid to more accurately reflect knowledge in nutrition science….



The USDA retires the food guide pyramid altogether and introduces the Mondrian-styled “choose-my-plate” campaign, decidedly more abstract and notable for the conspicuous absence of a major food component (can you name it?).

Meanwhile, experts at the Harvard School of Public Health have come up with their own versions of the “Healthy Eating Pyramid” and “Healthy Plate” in overt defiance of official USDA recommendations:


But the Harvard pyramid leaves us wondering whether the bottom row implies that we should consume a daily serving of running shoes and dumbells, and whether the pill bottle on the side indicates the daily requirement of statins…(the fine print actually says it’s “daily Multi-vitamin, plus extra vitamin D,” a bold statement considering the available evidence…)

Fortunately, the plate design is more explicit, though more wordy:

Thank you public health experts for pointing out that healthy eating means eating “healthy protein” and “healthy oils.”

In this battle of the titans, I think I will side with the government plate, empty as it looks.  The way it’s going, their next serving could very well be “Have it your way!…”

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