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Which is the best nutrition guide?

THE Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a Washington-based non-profit organization which conducts researches in preventive medicine, and encourages higher standards for ethics has filed a petition to replace the MyPyramid food diagram and adopt the new Power Plate.

PCRM president Neal D. Barnard signed and sent the petition for adoption of the Power Plate Food Diagram and dietary guidelines as a replacement for the MyPyramid on March 11, 2010 to United States Department of Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack and Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

PCRM said that “USDA and HHS should adopt new food diagram that is easy to understand and reflects the current scientific knowledge.”

PCRM is asking the USDA and HHS secretaries to withdraw the MyPyramid diagram and adopt the Power Plate food diagram because it is confusing and ineffective in addressing the nation’s national dietary emergency, and it has the following weaknesses:

• The MyPyramid only provides recommended diet to sustain individuals who are already healthy.

• There is limited scientific knowledge regarding the risks and benefits of nonessential foods in the MyPyramid such as eggs, yogurt and cheese.

• MyPyramid was designed to accommodate all types of foods, but PCRM states foods without beneficial nutritional attributes should not be included in a food guide for the public.

• The current guidelines of MyPyramid do not apply to children below two years old or those with medical illnesses that requires specialized dietary intervention.

• Nutrition guidance materials have evolved over the past decades. USDA has not identified which nutrition concepts merit continuation and which food concepts can be safely set aside by consumers.


The Power Plate focuses on the four dietary staples without specifying relative portion sizes.

Fruits. Fresh, frozen or canned fruits that is rich in fiber, vitamin C, and beta carotene.

One serving of fruits high in vitamin C should be served each day such as citrus fruits, strawberries and melons.

Whole fruits are much preferable than fruit juices which do not contain very much fiber.

Grains. Eat more whole grains such as brown rice, rolled oats and barleys. Grains also include pasta, bread, cereal, millet, corn, buckwheat, groats and tortillas.

Legumes. Dried, frozen or canned beans, lentils and peas are the best source for fiber, protein, zinc, calcium, iron and B vitamins.

Vegetables. Include generous portions of fresh, frozen or canned vegetables in your daily diet as a source of vitamin C, iron, fiber, calcium, beta-carotene, riboflavin and other nutrients. Other vegetables that should be included in your menu under the Power Plate are dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, turnips, mustard and others, and dark yellow and orange vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and winter squash for extra beta-carotene.

Brief history

In 1916, the USDA released a wheel-shaped diagram which includes seven food groups. Major changes were made in the 1950s which resulted to the Basic Four guide. In 1991, the pyramid-shaped diagram made a debut as the Eating right Pyramid. It was followed by the Food Guide Pyramid in 1992.

In 2005, MyPyramid was introduced, a computerized program which presents a human figure climbing stairs and indicating the value of physical activity. The segments present grains, fruits, milk, vegetables, meat, oils and beans.


The 2005 edition of the Dietary Guidelines remain the current guidelines until the 2010 edition is released.

MyPyramid helps individuals use the Dietary Guidelines to make the right choices from every food group, find balance between food and physical activity, get the most nutrition out of calories, and stay within your daily calorie needs.

Pyramid Composition

Grains - at least 3 ounces of whole grain brain, cereal, crackers, rice or pasta everyday.

Vegetables — eat more dark green and orange vegetables, more dry beans and peas

Fruits — eat a variety of fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruit but go easy on fruit juices.

Oils — fish, nuts, and vegetable oils are your best sources of oils. Limit solid fats like butter, lard, shortening and stick margarine.

Milk — go for low-fat or fat-free milk, but if you can’t take milk, you can choose lactose-free products or other sources of calcium as an option.

Meat and beans —choose lean or low-fat meats and poultry. Bake, broil or grill meats and vary your choices with more fish, beans, peas, nuts and seeds.

Discretionary calories — these are needed to keep your body functioning and provide energy for physical activities.

The USDA has yet to act on the PCRM petition, but both food guides are aimed to provide better health and nutrition to the nation. For more information visit and