Yesterday, the USDA unveiled their new chart for dietary guidelines. Like that of Pluto, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Columbus’s flat-earth adversaries, new research has completely revamped a basic tenet of my elementary school education.
According to Scientific American’s interview with nutritionist Marion Nestle, there were many problems with the stacked pyramid design of old (never mind the unintelligible MyPyramid introduced during the Bush presidency). The two main flaws were that it suggested that meats and junk foods were necessary, just in smaller portions, and the fact that grains were at the bottom, recommending a nebulous “six to 11 servings.” (“The serving sizes have grown to tremendous proportions, and no one knew what serving sizes were,” says Nestle. “One bagel is six servings, but no one knew that.”)
The new design not only simplifies the new dietary guidelines into a relevant form that people use every day — a plate — but it stands in opposition to what most Americans consider a square meal. Fruits and vegetables take up a full half of the plate, and protein, commonly thought to be the central focus of a meal, makes up the smallest portion.
This is a perfect example of how art and design can have a big role in furthering the impact of science.
What do you think of the new design? Is it clear enough? Is it memorable enough? Does it accomplish its goals? Are hipsters going to start wearing vintage food pyramid t-shirts out of irony?
The ART Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Mad Art Lab community. Look for it to appear Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 3pm ET.