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Comparing The Food Pyramid and MyPlate

food pyramid and myplate

It’s hard to relearn something that you thought you understand, and such is the case with the food pyramid and MyPlate.

More than likely you have heard of the food pyramid throughout your life at some point. This used to be the way that kids were educated about proper nutrition and serving sizes. Along came MyPlate just recently that sort of changed those perceptions.

The reality is that kids and adults alike need a bit of an education on how to eat properly. The way in which we eat has lead to an epidemic in obesity and a true lack of education on what it takes to eat well. So it’s important to understand what the changes are and why one is better than others in terms of education.

To discover more information about the food pyramid and MyPlate, continue reading. Below, we have compiled a short and simple guide that will compare the two and help you better understand what they are both all about.

Serving Sizes

One of the most notable differences between the food pyramid and MyPlate is the serving sizes.

With the food pyramid, you had a breakdown of each of the food groups and each one indicated a proper serving size. This has gone away with MyPlate because it’s really more about what you should fill your plate with at each meal.

You can see the image of a plate and the emphasis on things such as fruits and vegetables. There isn’t a number that you have to move towards or account for with MyPlate and that’s what makes it a much better option for many. So you can see in an image what makes for good healthy choices, but there isn’t any math to have to work out every meal or every day.

Eating The Right Foods In The Best Way 

Another notable difference between the food pyramid and MyPlate is the fact that there is much less of an emphasis on grains. In the past the food pyramid treated whole grains or bread products as a must.

Though you do need a certain level of carbohydrates to survive and thrive, it’s about the right types. This means that it’s about true whole grains and not white bread. It also means that whole grains can be a complement to the meal and not the meal itself. This gets people into the right frame of mind about how they view grains, and ensures far better choices.

Basically, MyPlate never promotes a “no carb” approach, but rather a more targeted and proper way of eating them.

Differences in the Approach Towards Fat and Protein

A final difference between the food pyramid and MyPlate is the fact that not all foods are created equally. You will not see a focus on fats on MyPlate.

Though some level of fat is essential, it’s important that it be from the good types of fat. This also assumes that some good fats are either in the food themselves (such as in salmon) or were used in the preparation (such as olive oil).

You will also see a more targeted approach to something like protein. Yes you need some protein to survive but it is really considered to be more of a nutrient than anything else. Put simply, you focus on lean proteins and not just a “one size fits all” type of protein approach.

A Quick Summary of What MyPlate Is All About 

When comparing the food pyramid and MyPlate, things become simple when you home in on what MyPlate is all about. Thankfully, the USDA has provided some helpful information that will guide you towards following this eating plan with greater ease.

Here are a few of the main aspects of MyPlate to focus on:

  • Half of your plate at any meal should consist of fruits and vegetables, but there should be more emphasis placed on vegetables, so they should take up a bit more of your plate than fruits do.
  • The other half of your dish should consist of grains and protein. Make sure the grains are whole grains. Your protein can come from a wide range of sources, depending on the type of diet that you follow (protein can come from plants like beans, nuts, peas, and seeds, as well as animal products). There should be a bit more grains than protein, though, as protein actually makes up the smallest portion of your plate.
  • Variety is the way to go. Don’t always eat the same ingredients. Instead, vary the whole grains, veggies, fruits, and protein sources that you enjoy.
  • A small amount of your diet can also consist of fat-free or low-fat yogurt or milk. Some critics, however, have stated that dairy should not be included as a necessary component of the MyPlate recommendations.

Other noteworthy differences between the food pyramid and MyPlate

  • As you look at the food pyramid and MyPlate, you will also notice that there is no specific section for meat on MyPlate because experts are noticing and promoting the myriad benefits of plant-based foods.
  • Also, there is no longer a section for fats or oils on the MyPlate system.

Comparing the Food Pyramid and MyPlate: Which One Wins?

As you can see, there are several differences between the food pyramid and MyPlate, but both of these are considered good recommendations to help you figure out how to follow a healthier eating plan and balance your diet effectively.

Overall, though, MyPlate has won out for its approach and very real life way of eating, and is therefore what many people lean towards for eating well these days. It is an updated version of the food pyramid, so if you are looking for up-to-date recommendations and guidelines, MyPlate would be the way to go.

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