love that site! Learned about it through my health class :)
Actually it's a total nutritious scam. It really does nothing to tell you about nutrition besides the absolute basics of eat more veggies . You're better off taking Nutrition 101 from Universal class - it's free and you will learn more than just how to compare a picture of a plate to your own.
The concept of the MyPlate diagram is that the user compare his or her plate to that of the diagram to be able to evaluate their plate and decide on the quality of their nutrition. With this being a solely visual tool the idea that without going in depth into nutritional education the average American would be able to evaluate their food and make better choices -basically they're saying you'er too stupid to understand a pyramid so lets try this instead. The hope is that dedicating half the plate to fruits and vegetables will increase the consumption of those items without really quantifying why the public should devote half their food budget to something most consider a luxury over the perceived cheaper processed "fun" alternatives. The MyPlate uses the five accepted food groups (fruits, vegetables, protein and dairy) to create a virtual meal for comparison. The idea of using a plate was also intended to relay portion sizes in an attempt to combat obesity, however if you watch the average American in a restaurant you will see very little if any evidence of this knowledge in effect. Some of the previous pyramids the USDA released also included exercise as part of the diet but yet again it is missing from the general suggested MyPlate.
It bothers me because it really doesn't teach the user anything but the most simple of nutrition, eat more veg/fruit and be mindful of portion size. It shows you nothing about vitamins, minerals or other bodily needs through nutrition(see orthomolecular medicine). This stuff is regulated by the very people who produce the very foods they push - corn products, dairy, chicken/meat and they're going to push what is most profitable for them no matter how they label it.
Phew, ok rant over, I don't like the USDA.
dsam511492637, it's just a chart, not a course in nutrition. It's a visual instant reference. As you point out, there are many excellent places to learn the details - and of course we should learn them. LOL! Yes, your anti-USDA does show. :D
I agree with dsam511492637. If any of you are really interested in the history of USDA muckery, I suggest you read Marion Nestle's Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health.