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Food Pyramid Ends Life Today

Food Pyramid Ends Life Today

New 'plate-based' approach to dietary guidelines to be unveiled Thursday.

The much-maligned USDA Food Pyramid is being replaced today with a plate. First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will unveil a new graphic to replace the iconic "Food Pyramid." While the official new look is being kept under wraps, it's a clear bet that the new graphic representation of a healthy meal will be a circle - like a plate.

According to different reports the circle will divided into quarters with protein sources, complex carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables each filling a quarter. According to reports, there will also be a smaller circle representing a dairy drink. The new dietary graphics are an effort to address childhood obesity through a simpler, graphic message.

At least one report has half that plate filled with fruits and vegetables; another section with rice, cereal or other grains; and the rest will contain proteins like chicken and nuts. Consider this a hot topic around farm coffee shops with the divvying up of that plate is announced.

A USDA advisory said it will "be an easy-to-understand visual cue to help consumers adopt healthy eating habits consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. MyPyramid will remain available to interested health professionals and nutrition educators in a special section of the new website. The new food icon will be part of a comprehensive nutrition communication initiative that provides consumers with easy-to-understand recommendations, a new website with expanded information, and other tools and resources.

For years the government has worked to represent a healthy diet in graphical ways. The food pyramid was introduced in 1992 and was the result of more than 10 years of research. Before that we were all eating from the four basic food groups. That pyramid, which is heavier on the bottom with grains, fruits and vegetables in the middle and sweets and other less-than-healthy items at the tip to be eaten sparingly. Of course, there were those who joked that the best way to enjoy the pyramid was from the top down.

The new "plate" graphic will be released today at USDA's Washington headquarters at a press conference starring Michelle Obama and Vilsack.

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