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USDA’s MyPlate Very Different From Americans’ Actual Plates

The nutritionally balanced quadrants of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) MyPlate --- the new federal dietary guidelines that depict a healthful daily diet -- look quite different from what’s actually on the plates of most Americans, according to new research from The NPD Group.

Using its National Eating Trends (NET) research, which has continually tracked the eating and drinking habits of U.S. consumers for more than 30 years, Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD calculated MyPlate days based on consumers who, on the same day, achieved at least 70 percent of the daily recommended intake for dairy, fruit, grains, proteins and vegetables. For the average consumer, only 2 percent of their days (about seven days a year) come close to resembling the USDA’s MyPlate dietary guidelines, the research showed.

When a MyPlate day is achieved, consumers are highly likely to consume more than three meals a day.

“We know through our ongoing research that consumers are more aware of what constitutes a healthy diet, but we also know what they say and what they do when it comes to eating are often different,” said Darren Seifer, NPD’s food and beverage industry analyst who analyzed the NET information in comparison to the MyPlate guidelines. “Since the MyPlate program was just released last year, time will tell if it will have an effect on the way consumers eat, but it’s likely to be an uphill battle.”

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