The following offers a brief history of the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) nutritional guidelines and how the Food Guide Pyramid and the new “My Plate” came to be. Although “My Plate” is not thoroughly explained in this blog article, resources explaining the plate further are offered below.
From Pyramid to Plate
Actually, from Farmers’ Bulletin to Plate! Did you know that the first dietary recommendations were issued by the USDA in 1894? This first publication of nutritional advice was a Farmers’ Bulletin. At that time specific vitamins and minerals had not even been discovered; they were referred to as “mineral matter”. Add that to your trivia chest! Since the Farmer’s Bulletin, advances in scientific research have contributed to massive expansion of nutrition guidance from the government.
Various publications were developed over the years to reflect the most recent research. And in the 1980’s, the USDA and DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) published the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in response to, “the public’s need for authoritative, consistent guidance on diet and health”.1 These are the same guidelines that we have today and they are updated every five years.
It was not until 1992, though that the first graphic to represent the Dietary Guidelines for Americans was released: the Food Guide Pyramid. Since the icon was established, three updated editions of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans have been published. And on June 2nd a plate model became the new icon for the USDA guidelines. The new plate icon is based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The icon has changed; however, the guidelines are the same (updated of course). To learn more about the new plate icon, check out these YouTube videos:
We realize that all the various guidelines and symbols can just add to confusion of nutritional jargon. To simplify: balance (food and life), moderation and variety, joy of eating, and living healthy, active lives.
Let us know if you have questions or comments about MyPlate or general meal balancing by posting a comment to this post!