MyPlate vs MyPyramid // Do You Know the Difference? 

Last Updated on June 22, 2023 by Create Better Health

In June of 2011 MyPlate was released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It was created to support the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. MyPlate replaced the 1990’s MyPyramid.  

Did you know that the Dietary Guidelines are updated every five years? They sure are! Starting in 1980 they have been issued by the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. This is when the food pyramid came out too. You can read the most recent dietary guidelines by clicking here or view previous editions here.  

MyPyramid was created to help Americans understand which food groups were most important for healthy diets but was criticized by nutrition experts as people often focused on just one food group, that it focused too much on grains, and it lacked an exercise component.  

In 1992 the most recognized food pyramid was released.

In 2005 a new MyPyramid was released that explained why each of the five food groups were important to have in your diet. 

In 2011 the USDA created MyPlate, what we currently use, which focuses on all the food groups being a part of your plate.  

MyPlate vs MyPyramid: What’s the difference? 

There are three noticeable changes with MyPlate.  

  1. MyPyramid had an emphasis on grains.  
    • MyPlate focuses on fruits and vegetables taking up half your plate 
  1. MyPyramid mentioned fats and oils in small quantities 
    • MyPlate doesn’t have a category for fats, oils or sugars at all on its graphic.  
      • Fats and oils aren’t all created equally nutrient-wise. If you’re curious about this visit the MyPlate website, it provides great insight into what fats and oils you can incorporate into your diet. Click here to read about it. 
  1. MyPyramid listed serving sizes 
    • MyPlate does not mention how many servings you should have of any of the good groups, rather it is a plate that depicts how much each food group should take up. 
      • MyPlate is based on the idea that your plate is 9 inches big and that you’re not piling your food up too high! 

MyPlate is simple enough that most anyone can quickly memorize its layout.  

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables 
    • Focus on whole fruits
    • Vary your veggies 
  • Make half your grains whole grains 
  • Vary your protein sources 
    • Focus on lean protein sources 
  • Move to low-fat or fat-free dairy 
    • Milk or yogurt 

MyPlate touts to “Make Every Bite Count”! They even created a personalized MyPlate Plan option. This will help you create a plan based on your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level! You can find that tool by clicking here

When you visit www.myplate.gov you will be able to find tips to help build healthier diets and materials to help focus on healthy behaviors. Check it out! 

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