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May Health Show: The New USDA Food Pyramid

from Jana Mitcham
May 6, 2005

The following are excerpts from the May Health Show call. JM represents statements made by Jana Mitcham and MG for statements made by Meme Groseth.

JM: Meme, I am going to discuss the News Release from the USDA concerning its new Food Pyramid—they are calling it “MyPyramid”.

MG: Why "My" after years of calling it the USDA Food Pyramid?

JM: The USDA has finally recognized that Health requires personal responsibility and is attempting to provide an interactive program to challenge us to step up to the plate and accept that responsibility. They have designed an interactive website at The key is in using and applying it,

MG: Tell us a little bit about the MyPyramid concept.

JM: Meme, the best way I know to do that is to discuss the recent news release. (By the way the release will soon be available in Jana's Corner.) I advise all of you to read Jana's Corner for testimonials.

MG: Jana, I hate to interrupt but I must say this: speaking of testimonials, all those who give them on this call, be sure and send them in to to Jana's attention.

JM: Good point Meme. Anyway, like I was saying read Jana's Corner for testimonies, product and health news. Now for the press release:

Ed Loyd (202) 720-4623
Angela Harless (202) 720-4623

JM: It starts with an announcement by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns:

WASHINGTON, April 19, 2005 - Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today unveiled MyPyramid, a new symbol and interactive food guidance system. "Steps to a Healthier You," MyPyramid's central message... is designed to help Americans live longer, better and healthier lives. MyPyramid... replaces the Food Guide Pyramid introduced in 1992, is part of an overall food guidance system that emphasizes the need for a more individualized approach to improving diet and lifestyle.

"MyPyramid is about the ability of Americans to personalize their approach when choosing a healthier lifestyle that balances nutrition and exercise, … Many Americans can dramatically improve their overall health by making modest improvements to their diets and by incorporating regular physical activity into their daily lives."

MyPyramid incorporates recommendations from the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, ... The Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide authoritative advice for people two years of age and older about how proper dietary habits can promote health and reduce the risk of major chronic diseases. MyPyramid was developed to carry the messages of the dietary guidelines and to make Americans aware of the vital health benefits of simple and modest improvements in nutrition, physical activity and lifestyle behavior.

The MyPyramid symbol, which is deliberately simple, is meant to encourage consumers to make healthier food choices and to be active every day. Consumers can get more in-depth information from the new Web site,, so that they can make these choices to fit their own needs.

The MyPyramid symbol represents the recommended proportion of foods from each food group and focuses on the importance of making smart food choices in every food group, every day. Physical activity is a new element in the symbol.

MyPyramid illustrates:

Personalization – find a personalized recommendation of the kinds and amounts of food to eat each day…

Gradual improvement, encouraged by the slogan, "Steps to a Healthier You." It suggests that individuals can benefit from taking small steps to improve their diet and lifestyle each day.

Physical activity, represented by the steps and the person climbing them, as a reminder of the importance of daily physical activity.

Variety, symbolized by the six color bands representing the five food groups of MyPyramid and oils. Foods from all groups are needed each day for good health.

Moderation, represented by the narrowing of each food group from bottom to top. The wider base stands for foods with little or no solid fats, added sugars, or caloric sweeteners. These should be selected more often to get the most nutrition from calories consumed.

Proportionality, shown by the different widths of the food group bands. The widths suggest how much food a person should choose from each group. The widths are just a general guide, not exact proportions. Check for the amount that is right for you.

JM: I think you can see how comprehensive the system is designed to be as it provides for proportion, moderation, variety, physical activity, gradual improvement and best of all personalization.

The new food guidance system utilizes interactive technology found on MyPyramid contains interactive activities that make it easy for individuals to key in their age, gender and physical activity level so that they can get a more personalized recommendation on their daily calorie level based on the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It also allows individuals to find general food guidance and suggestions for making smart choices from each food group.

The various sections:

MyPyramid Plan - provides a quick estimate of what and how much food you should eat from the different food groups by entering your age, gender and activity level.

MyPyramid Tracker - provides more detailed information on your diet quality and physical activity status by comparing a day's worth of foods eaten with current nutrition guidance. Relevant nutrition and physical activity messages are tailored to your desire to maintain your current weight or to lose weight.

Inside MyPyramid - provides in-depth information for every food group, including recommended daily amounts in commonly used measures, like cups and ounces, with examples and everyday tips. The section also includes recommendations for choosing healthy oils, discretionary calories and physical activity.

Start Today - provides tips and resources that include downloadable suggestions on all the food groups and physical activity, and a worksheet to track what you are eating.

Future enhancements to will include features that make it possible for consumers to make specific food choices by group, look at everyday portions of favorite foods and adjust their choices to meet their daily needs.

A child-friendly version of MyPyramid for teachers and children is being developed. This version of MyPyramid is intended to reach children 6 to 11 years old with targeted messages about the importance of making smart eating and physical activity choices.

Additional information about USDA's MyPyramid is available at

MG: Jana, how can we use our Vitamark products to comply with these guidelines?

JM: As many of you are aware, our foods may actually be nutrient depleted—this is according to a government report in the JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) in the summer of 2000. Due to the fact that much of our (or the country of imports) soils do not have the necessary nutrients, we might actually have to eat much more to get the recommended levels. Even the government suggested that a daily vitamin/mineral supplement might be a good idea.

MG: So, you are saying that in addition to our food we need vitamin and mineral supplementation like we would get from Blitz Chewables (for 2-11 yrs) and VitaOne (healthy 12 yr olds and older) or Vita-Che for older adults with health concerns? And I'll bet Limu Plus with its fabulous "greens from" land and sea and its balance of other nutrients would also make up for a lot of those deficiencies?

JM: You are right on target, Meme. Those products will make an excellent base. For more specific products, you can add extra calcium and magnesium with our Coral Calcium+ product.

MG: Great idea, especially for those who are allergic to milk or lactose intolerant.

JM: You are right Meme. Just 4 Coral Calcium+ a day will give you the recommended 1000 mg! For another dietary challenge, when it comes to eating greens all of us fall short. I imagine… well you don't have to... add 1-3 Vita-Greens per day.

MG: Jana, we all know that fruits are a major source of antioxidants; what if the soil depletion has interfered with that?

JM: You are right to point out the significance of antioxidants, Meme. Our CellRich product is a rich source of antioxidant protection; and after a load of 1 3x a day for 10 days (for most people) just 1 a day should maintain your protective levels.

MG: That's great! And for those who might not know, if VitaOne is your product of choice it includes 1 CellRich. How do other Vitamark products fit in?

JM: Well, the USDA has included "fats" in its new pyramid--fats like you get in our Phospholipids (also part of VitaOne) and Omega IIIs like you get from fish oils--there is so much warning today about toxic levels of mercury in fish--they advise limited intake--so it might be a good idea to supplement with 1-3 capsules of this heart and brain friendly oil a day.

MG: Any other tips?

JM: Let me close with 2 favorites: The Blitz Cookie and SuperSoy. The Blitz Cookie is a great source of nutrients, fiber, whole grain oats and soy protein. It makes a great snack and with only 11 net carbohydrates it comes in way below those unhealthy snacks. Considering its high fiber content and today’s chronic constipation in kids this should be a no brainer!

MG: You mentioned Supersoy.

JM: “My Pyramid” emphasizes foods rich in protein and low in saturated and trans fats and cholesterol. That describes our SuperSoy foods perfectly. And with scientific research associating soy protein with several health benefits including a reduced risk of heart disease—soy is an excellent choice!

I think you get the idea that to insure good health you need to make healthy choices and supplement with good dietary supplements like those from Vitamark.


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