While the new USDA graphic is certainly a prettier picture and does convey information with more clarity, they forgot a MAJOR macronutrient group. Where’s the FAT? Fruit and vegetables have very little fat. They are recommending lean meats, which have very little fat. They are recommending low fat dairy which has very little fat. So, where’s the fat in this supposedly healthy diet?
As Marion Nestle PhD. and professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University says (everyone quotes her, so I will as well), “It’s better than the  pyramid but that’s not saying a lot.” (New York Times, Neumann W, 6/2/2011)
In another interview she said, “The Department of Agriculture has a long history of being in bed with the food industry, and this is moving beyond that. It’s not moving as far as I would like, but it’s pretty courageous.” (Los Angeles Times, Khan A, 6/2/2011)
In their explanation about the new visual called “My Plate” the USDA explains each part of the plate and related topics. I find it interesting that they discuss “empty calories.”
What are “empty calories”?
Currently, many of the foods and beverages Americans eat and drink contain empty calories – calories from solid fats and/or added sugars. Solid fats and added sugars add calories to the food but few or no nutrients. For this reason, the calories from solid fats and added sugars in a food are often called empty calories. Learning more about solid fats and added sugars can help you make better food and drink choices.
Solid fats are fats that are solid at room temperature, like butter, beef fat, and shortening. Some solid fats are found naturally in foods. They can also be added when foods are processed by food companies or when they are prepared.
As Marion Nestle said, “The Department of Agriculture has a long history of being in bed with the food industry….” In this case it is the grain and processed food corporations.
Dr. David Kessler, the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner who has campaigned against obesity, still sees a pretty big problem: getting people to start eating what’s on that plate. With rates of obesity and diabetes on the rise, Kessler said, getting people to change their eating habits is a top priority.
“If we could eat meals in the manner that’s being suggested by the new plate, we can reverse this epidemic,” Kessler said.
Really. Really Dr. Kessler. While they get the idea that sugars are empty calories they are still giving the “party line” about fats. Kessler is beyond dreaming if he thinks eating from My Plate will change the direction American health is going. If anything it will make it worse because more people will actually be able to read it.
What do you think about this? Please let me know.