And round and round we grow.

We’re all pretty familiar with the current food pyramid, compliments of our stellar USDA.

But did you know that before the food pyramid, there was a food wheel?

Yep, back in 1943 butter was its own food group. Hat tip to @GuyKawasaki who mentioned this on Twitter this morning. (This poster is from the “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? The Government’s Effect on the American Diet” exhibit at the National Archives, opening June 10.)

There’s been lots of talk of revamping the outdated and misleading food pyramid after the government’s latest dietary guidelines were released in January, and I’ve been curious to see it. Finally this week, the USDA has released their latest brainchild, the food plate.

Have you seen it yet?

At least fruits and vegetables have replaced grains as the mainstay of the diet, but unfortunately there is still no differentiation between good and bad sources of vegetables, proteins, and grains.

Yes, I know we aren’t supposed to say any food is “bad” — far be it for me to assign morality to food. But, I stand by it. Some food is just bad for you. Sorry. It doesn’t mean I don’t ever indulge, don’t get me wrong, and I don’t feel guilty about it when I do. But denatured food products that inhibit our immune systems are certainly not good. They’re not even neutral. But I digress.

It also bothers me that the new guidelines recommend fruit as 1/4 of the diet — I mean, it beats grains, but really, we don’t need that much fruit. Vegetables, yes. Fruits, no. There’s a lot of sugar in fruit.

And um, WHERE IS THE FAT on that plate? The body needs good fats.

Of course they continue to recommend low fat dairy products, which are generally higher in sugar and often contain stabilizers to maintain consistency, to say nothing of possibly reducing fertility in women. And also? You need that fat to digest the vitamins A and D in the milk. So really, this low fat dairy fad has GOT TO GO.

But at least they are advising us to eat less overall. That’s something. Although it’s not clear from this picture. I mean, if I filled my plate to emulate this picture, I’d be an elephant. There definitely needs to be more discussion about portion sizes.

All things considered, the new food plate is an improvement, if still far from optimal. I just wish I thought it would actually help people rethink how they eat. Does anyone really think this is going to make a difference?

Despite all of my criticisms, I was actually thinking they hadn’t done half bad coming up with the new guidelines when I read this:

Dr. Post said the U.S.D.A. had spent about $2 million to develop and promote the logo.


Are you KIDDING ME? It took TWO MILLION dollars to come up with a picture to tell people to eat more vegetables and fruits?

No wonder our country’s in debt.

What do you think about the new Food Plate? Tax money well spent? Or did we just toss $2 mil down the drain?

Finally, I leave you with this. In all my googling, I came across this post by Ruth Bourdain: There. That Looks Better. Go ahead. CLICK.

NOW we’re talking.