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USDA Unveils New Food Chart: No More Pyramid Schemes

This morning the USDA unveiled their new food chart, finally replacing the food pyramid which first debuted — and was trashed pretty much since — in 1992. The new chart also comes with its own new website, ChooseMyPlate.gov. The food pyramid, you will doubtless remember, is that irritating, confusing and misleading visual nutrition aid that divided foods into recommended layers. Your pyramid scheme joke here ______.

The new chart comes in the form of a plate, plates being somewhat more food relevant than pyramids. And it's the proportions that are changed as much as the geometry: More plant-based foods, less meat. Scientific American asked nutritionist Marion Nestle, who did not like the old one much ("The 2005 pyramid had no food on it. It was completely un-teachable, and you needed a computer to understand it.") what she thought of the new plate chart. "Well, it's banal, but it works. It's very easily teachable."

The George W. Bush administration unveiled an update on the pyramid in 2005: the charmingly named, rainbow striped, baffling MyPyramid, which included online personal food plans. Nobody liked that one either. So now we have a new one, a plate-shaped circular chart that will hopefully depict the government's recommended model for American meals with a bit more clarity. Because nobody wants to be reminded of Bernie Madoff when they're reading their food labels.

The original pyramid
The original pyramid
The 2005 pyramid
The 2005 pyramid

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