Members of the U.S. “grain chain” applauded on Thursday the introduction of a new healthy eating icon, dubbed MyPlate, which highlights the importance of grains to a well-balanced diet.
The new graphic looks roughly like a place setting and features a plate divided into four quadrants for fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins. The graphic is supposed to communicate that the average eater should aim for meals containing half fruits and vegetables and more than a quarter grains.
NAWG participated in a press statement and press availability Thursday after the announcement and unveiling by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Collectively, the grain chain commended USDA, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Obama for their work to develop the graphic, which will replace various forms of the often-confusing food pyramid.
“With grains appropriately occupying a large portion on the dinner plate graphic, the agencies are making a strong statement regarding the importance of grains as the foundation of a healthy lifestyle,” NAWG and a dozen other grain groups said in the statement.
“We continue to hear from consumers that they are looking for simple, clear directives that are easy to follow. We believe the new icon, with its clear illustration of the portions and food groups comprising a healthy meal, will be very valuable in helping consumers integrate better nutrition choices into their daily eating habits.”
The federal government’s dietary guidelines, revised in 2010, recommend that the average American should eat six servings of grain foods daily, at least half of those whole grains and the rest enriched grains.
Both whole and enriched grains offer a wide array of health benefits and can help to prevent a number of different health conditions and ailments.
Folic acid fortification, in particular, has been credited for helping to dramatically reduce the incidence of neural tube defects in babies.
Whole grains are naturally low in fat and are a good source of fiber. They also contain important nutrients that may help to boost immunity, lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease and some forms of cancer.
Much more about MyPlate, including the new graphic and extensive information about how foods fit into the new guidelines, is available at www.choosemyplate.gov.
The full grain chain statement is at www.wheatworld.org/othercorrespondence.