I’m glad to see the USDA is improving their presentation of nutrition. Instead of the food pyramid, they’re using a plate now, separated into sections for protein, grains, fruits, veggies, and dairy.
I don’t like the circle for “dairy” adjacent to the plate. I know for a fact that “dairy” is not a food group, as my cowmilk-allergic daughter has lived her entire 7 years 6 months so far without it. Sometimes I wonder if vegetables really need be separated from fruits, too, seeing how my children eat tons of fruit and hardly any vegetables. I like that they changed the meat group to “protein,” acknowledging there are other ways to get protein besides meat.
However, it’s still not a great presentation. The best explanation of nutrition I’ve ever seen is in the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. It’s a cookbook, but the first 63 pages would make a good basic course in nutrition. It is divided into sections titled Fats, Carbohydrates, Proteins, Milk Products, Vitamins, Minerals, Enzymes, Salt/Spices/Additives, Beverages, and Allergies. One thing I took away from reading this is that the “food groups” humans need to be healthy are fats, carbs, proteins, and vitamins/minerals/ enzymes.
I think consuming a balance of fats, carbs, and proteins in enough variety to get the vitamins/minerals/enzymes we need, and eating food as whole and close to its original state in nature, are the keys to healthy nutrition.