Although the new food guidance symbol maintains the pyramid shape, it is a significant departure from the Food Guide Pyramid. MyPyramid's simple design contains lines that stretch from the pyramid's base to its pinnacle. This design highlights the importance of making smart food choices from all food groups.
"The design of MyPyramid divides the base of the pyramid among all food groups with grain-based foods still representing a large segment of the overall pyramid," Robin Alton, Independent Bakers Association's chairman, said. "It is better that grain-based foods share the base of MyPyramid rather than lose our position on the base entirely."
Consumer reactions to the new pyramid have been mixed, but many baking industry representatives are pleased with the new design. "At a time when the American public is getting over its low-carb hangover, it is important that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is using the new guidance system to reinforce basic nutrition facts and sound science," Judi Adams, Grain Foods Foundation's president, said.
American Bakers Association (ABA) also lauded the new pyramid. "ABA is pleased that USDA and Health and Human Services will continue to use a strong pyramid graphic as a communications tool for dietary guidance which demonstrates the importance of grain-based foods in a healthy daily diet," Gary Prince, ABA chairman and George Weston Bakeries' president, said.
Besides using vertical lines instead of horizontal lines, MyPyramid also contains other significant differences from its predecessor. The new pyramid design is absent of any food pictures or food descriptions, and highlights physical activity through the illustration of a person climbing stairs up the pyramid. MyPyramid also contains a slogan, "Steps to a Healthier You."
"MyPyramid is about the ability of Americans to personalize their approach when choosing a healthier lifestyle that balances nutrition and exercise," Mike Johanns, USDA's agriculture secretary, said. "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."
Besides unveiling MyPyramid, USDA also launched an interactive Web site, www.mypyramid.gov. This website allows consumers to customize their diet based on age, gender and physical activity level.
MyPyramid serves as the graphical representation of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In the past, high-volume bakeries used the Food Guide Pyramid on everything from bread bags to distribution trucks.