Sugar Alert – The U.S. Home Plate


By Dean L. Jones, C.P.M.

Yet another approach to eating well was announced this month by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The government explicitly recognizes that previous guidelines on healthy eating were flawed and the latest data shows a much more improved approached to suggesting how Americans should practice eating each day. The old familiar food pyramid (MyPyramid) is officially obsolete and replaced with a food dining plate. The new “MyPlate” icon is the look the government recommends we practice by eating more vegetables and fruit, balanced by grains and protein, while the dairy food group is presented as an add-on choice to each meal.

The First Lady Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move!’ Initiative has prompted public health professionals to be more active in promoting straight forward messages about basic eating patterns. She is successfully getting the food agencies of the government to address how the U.S. citizenry is detrimentally experiencing an epidemic of overweight and obesity. Her work is getting the USDA to offer an online Internet tool that consumers can use to personalize and manage their dietary and physical activity choices.

The government expressed as part of this dietary overhaul on daily eating practices to avoid and/or reduce foods with high sodium (salt) like soup, bread, and prepackaged frozen meals. Also, the USDA made the clearest and what I believe to be the best message which is for consumers to avoid sugary drinks all together. Mentioning that processed sugar is harmful to health is huge, considering how in the past the government protected the providers of fats, sugars and alcohol products. Pretty much all of the 1900’s up through the 21st Century, the closet the government had come to addressing this issue was stating a need to moderate the intake of fats, sweets, and alcohol.

Although the references to sugars, fats, alcohols and oils have disappeared, I still find it very strange how the previous category called “meat and beans” is now simply proteins. For me, a fresh bean consists of far superior health properties to that of any dead flesh. Consequently, proceed with personal wisdom in following this overtly simplistic food plate designed by the federal government. Bear in mind, many advisors on the approval of this newly promoted health plate include representatives from both the dairy and meat industries.

Dean L. Jones is a marketing strategist with the Southland Partnership Corporation, a public benefit organization. He has published a series of consumer alert articles based on his view of barefaced mismanagement of food/beverage products.