6-15-11: How Much Is That Muffin in the Window?
On June 2nd, the USDA retired the 20-year-old Food Pyramid and unveiled the new My Plate icon. It’s divided into four sections: fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein foods. A small circle to the side, suggesting a glass, represents dairy foods.
Tom Hall speaks about the change with our nutrition diva Monica Reinagel. (She thinks the form is simpler — but would have like to seen recommendations for more vegetables, and a little less fruit.)
They also discuss a provision in the 2010 Health Care Reform Bill that would require restaurants and other food retailers to post calorie counts and other nutrition information on their menus. Restaurants with more than 20 locations will be affected, so this is targeting big restaurant and fast food chains, rather than independently owned restaurants. The rules are expected to be finalized by the end of this year, at which point some deadlines for implementation will be set.
Monica wonders, though, if the calorie information is always reliable: she points out several exposes revealing that the posted calorie counts are often wildly inaccurate. The portion sizes that are actually served may be quite a bit bigger than those that were used for analysis; ingredients like butter or oil may be used more liberally than in the test preparations.
Monica Reinagel hosts the Nutrition Diva podcast, and is author of the book Nutrition Diva’s Secrets for a Healthy Diet: What to Eat, What to Avoid, and What to Stop Worrying About.