MyPlate, Half-Plate, and No Plate: How Visual Plate-related Dietary Benchmarks Influence What People Serve

17 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2021

Date Written: July 19, 2021

Abstract

Can visual plate-related dietary guidance systems – such as the MyPlate guideline or the Half-Plate Rule – help people eat better when dining at home or in restaurants? To help explore this, 104 young adults completed a food diary study after having been randomly assigned to follow either 1) USDA MyPlate guidelines, 2) the Half-Plate Rule, or 3) no guidelines (control condition). Both of the visual dietary guidance systems were considered easy to understand, to follow, and left people with fewer questions about what to eat (all p<.01). Moreover, people who rated a system “easy to follow” indicated they had consumed less (meat (r = .268), but this was uncorrelated with fruit and vegetable intake (r =.092) and carbohydrate intake (r = .069). There are three key conclusions to these and other findings: First, the simplest guidance system may be more effective than no system. Second, even the most perfect dietary guidance system will not change behavior if the foods are not available or it is not followed. Third, guidance systems could over-increase the consumption of any food they specifically mention.

Keywords: Health Nutrition, Eating Habits, Behavioral Interventions, Dietary guidelines

Suggested Citation

Wansink, Brian and Wansink, Audrey, MyPlate, Half-Plate, and No Plate: How Visual Plate-related Dietary Benchmarks Influence What People Serve (July 19, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3889673 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3889673

Brian Wansink (Contact Author)

Retired ( email )

607-319-0123 (Phone)

Audrey Wansink

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY
United States

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