Out With The Pyramid, In With The Plate

There's a new-and-improved symbol of healthful eating.

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This piece first appeared in the October issue of Competitor Magazine.

Written by: Wendy Wilson

Earlier this year, Americans bid farewell to the iconic Food Guide Pyramid as government officials unveiled the new-and-improved symbol of healthful eating: a color-blocked Food Guide Plate denoting proper dietary ratios of protein, fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy.

As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s and Health and Human Service’s release of its 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americas, the plate supplanted the pyramid as an “upgraded visual to demonstrate how the general population should be eating for a healthy diet,” explained Nicole Kuhl, a certified clinical nutritionist at Life Span Medicine in Los Angeles.

That’s great for sedentary individuals or recreational athletes, but what does the Food Guide Plate represent for hard-core competitors?

It is a good place to start, Kuhl said, particularly for those training for races.

“An athlete is going to be burning through hundreds if not thousands of calories per day during training, so that’s going to increase their caloric and nutritional needs,” Kuhl said. “The Plate will give them a generally healthy diet, but it’s not going to meet the demands of really high-level training.”

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