Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists

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What do you think of the USDA's new icon: MyPlate?

May 26, 2015

For many years, diabetes educators have used portion sizes and food choices from the different food groups as a method to educate patients with diabetes. I am not a registered dietitian, but I do deliver education regarding general dietary guidelines and have used the “plate method” to provide instruction. For many years I have used a plate divided into portion sizes as a means to show patients how much of a certain food is considered a serving. Frequently, patients are surprised to discover they are eating double the recommended portion size of commonly consumed foods.

Recently, I was pleasantly surprised to learn the United States Department of Agriculture decided to replace the food pyramid with a new icon: the MyPlate. Take a minute to visit the site; it is easy to navigate and interactive. I have actually considered using the site during upcoming DSME/T shared medical appointments. I cannot remember the last time I referred to the food pyramid when providing education.

As I recall, there were multiple food pyramids based on age and caloric intake requirements. The food pyramid is incorporated into the 2nd edition of the Art and Science of Diabetes Self-Management Education Desk Reference. Surely, many educators will not have a problem with switching to the plate method since I suspect many of us are accustomed to using it.

What do you think of the recent change from the U.S.D.A? Do you use the food pyramid or the plate? Which one do you think is the most useful and beneficial? Share your thoughts.

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