USDA’s New Food Pyramid Icon, ‘My Plate,’ Not For Every Plate

These dietary guidelines have a long way to go

USDA's My Plate
The USDA's "My Plate" dietary guidelines.

Updated Jul 11, 2017 @ 11:34 am

Today marks the start of a new image for the much-criticized federal dietary guide, and with it, a new view of what the country deems healthy. But where the program’s adoption of social media allows for personalized interaction—to track one’s weight and exercise—and certainly simplifies the visuals—from a cramped pyramid to a sectioned-off plate—we have to be honest: The new guide only scratches the surface of personal health.

“There’s a long way for it to go,” says Clean Plates founder Jared Koch. “To say ‘eat protein’ and ‘eat lean protein’…doesn’t take into account where the protein is coming from.” And does “protein” just mean “meat”? “Some people do well on a vegetarian source of protein,” Jared advises, noting that the guidelines are very general. Perhaps a more tailored guide is in order, one that would account for the multi-faceted diets we now know exist for the varied nutritional needs of the public. “To say that everybody should have a side of dairy… what about the large segment of the population that is lactose intolerant?”

Jared applauds the vouch for more vegetables and less sugary drinks—advice all bodies can agree on—but there’s a long way to go. We’re only 20-percent out of this can of worms, but at least we’re moving.

To test out the new guidelines for yourself, head to