Why Is the Old Food Pyramid Bad?

old-food-pyramid-bad Credit: Tarama Staples/Stone/Getty Images

The food pyramid — first introduced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1992, then revamped in 2005 — was replaced in 2011 by a plate-shaped graphic called "MyPlate." The previous version, called "MyPyramid," was widely criticized as confusing and too abstract.

The original 1992 food pyramid showed six food groups divided into four tiers of diminishing size. Many nutrition experts criticized the pyramid for its emphasis on grains, rather than fruits and vegetables, as the desired foundation for a diet, and for a recommended proportion of meat and dairy that many found excessive, reports SFGate. The 2005 version addressed some of these issues, but many people found the graphic confusing. Using cups and ounces for the recommended amounts, originally intended to make the recommendations more specific, only seemed to add to the confusion.

MyPlate presented a simplified graphic: a round plate divided into unequal wedges, each representing a food group. Half of the plate is filled with vegetables and fruit, the other half with grains and protein. Protein and fruit make up the smaller portion of each half. On the side is a separate circle labeled dairy, representing an 8-ounce serving of low-fat milk or yogurt.