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Pyramids, Plates, and More

Posted on 6th Jun, 2011 by John Farquhar, M.D.
USDA Plate

Well, the Pyramid guide to food is gone, and good riddance. It reminded us of Egypt, and sand and heat, but it didn’t help us know what to eat!

Now we have a plate. Dr. David Kessler, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, said that if the symbol got more people to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables they eat, that makes it worthwhile. The new symbol now gives us some general guidance–and its a great improvement, but, just to be difficult, I’d like to rearrange what’s on the new “Plate.”

Improving the Plate

To start—let’s give ourselves 12 servings of various foods/day, and six servings of vegetables(Vs) fill the ENTIRE left side of the plate.

Fruits (Fs), grains and protein each get two servings—filling up the right side of the plate. Why do this? Six servings of Vs are considered by most adventuresome nutritionists as what we need—and some say seven or even eight. My view is that only two servings of Fs are needed—mostly berries, and no juice.

For the two servings of protein, most of the time that should be beans or nuts, and those can be counted as Vs. One of the two protein servings should be from soy (like edamame, salt-free).

The two servings of grains should, of course, be whole grain.

In future blogs, I’ll give reasons behind these suggestions, after which many will accept them as “imperatives.” I’ll present the views of Joyce Hanna and myself, of Stanford’s Health Improvement Program, for what we have called “The Best Diet Ever.” This diet is designed to prevent heart attacks, strokes and many types of cancer. It also is a foundation for the dietary approach to increasing “brain power.” It also helps protect the earth.

The diet will be presented in five or six parts, in sequence, to allow details and reasons for the ideas expressed.

John W Farquhar, M.D. is C.F. Rehnborg Professor in Disease Prevention, Emeritus,
Professor of Medicine and Health Research and Policy, Emeritus at the Stanford Prevention Research Center at the Stanford University School of Medicine

Food, we love you.

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Comments (1)

  1. 6th Jun 2011

    I agree with you and like the plate better than the pyramid. I think a large part of getting people to eat better is to eat more at home; less on the go eating between games, activities, etc. Teaching kids to cook and make eating fun is also important. Your recipes are a great start and you can check out our silly snacks http://smartmomuniversity.com/home/category/silly-snacks for some fun and nutritious snacking.

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