MyPlate, the oversimplification


For years the US system of nutritional advice was based on the pyramid as graphical element. In the US they like pyramids, just look at a US Dollar bill. The pyramid was changed several times over time, elements were added.

The system was called mypyramid. It was not ideal but it was good and detailed. Our main issue with the mypyramid system was that no water was included. Water (or tea/coffee without sugar and milk) which everyone should drink about 30 mln per kg of body weight.

As a recent addition to mypyramid we at Center Palitra Pitania liked the physical activity. The little guy walking up the steps, up the pyramid. Actually in Egypt it is illegal to walk up the pyramids and often not really possible. Just take a look at the development of the mypyramid system as documented in one of our presentations.

MyPyramidHistory PalitraPitania

How the US nutritional advice logo changed over time

Now comes along –

First. A plate is not bad. But look at the UK version already being promoted for many years. Looks like the new US version is a simplification of the UK version.

UK eatwell-plate

UK eatwell-plate


Next, start counting. And you see there are only 5 food elements, no physical activity. Yes, instead of adding water to the overall presentation and getting to seven elements, one element got taken off the logo – fat. Assume that the logic in the US is that people already eat to much fat, so telling them to eat none can not harm. And last it looks like milk products are only drinking milk.


But looking deeper, reading the announcements why the logo was changed the entire approach seems like an oversimplification and a step backward.


It was stated that the mypyramid system was too complex, there was too much information. Center Palitra Pitania disagrees. Anybody can understand and study the mypyramid system in about one hour. It is simple to understand. Maybe only for kids the plate is a better way. We are sure in a short while many dishes in the form of myplate will be sold in the US.


It was stated that in the mypyramid system was too much information. Center Palitra Pitania disagrees. For sure now taking off fat (and yes there are healthy and good fat types and better to count something than to omit something) is a simplification. For sure not adding water is keeping it simple but we do not understand how water can be omitted. It is key to a healthy body. And last not least to take off physical activity is just a plain step back.


Last, getting a bit philosophical what does this new logo tell us.


This new logo means making everything as simple as possible even if lots of information is omitted. Some would call it the lowest common denominator. Simple is better.


Compared to the mypyramid system this new logo means that spending a minimal time on understanding nutrition, on eating well is already too much.


Our Conclusion:


This logo is a big step back! Food and nutrition is one of the most important elements of life, one of the most enjoyable part of our daily life and just what often differentiates mankind (for those who can afford it) from animals. We eat, because we enjoy, we eat what we like – animals often have to eat whatever nature provides them with.


It is the wrong way to simplify all this. People need to spend time to understand food and nutrition, to eat right, to be physical active. Only if you understand what you are eating you will stay healthy all your life. And for this view the mypyramid system was just better.


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