Why The Food Pyramid May Be Making You Fat
Growing up, we are educated on nutrition with the infamous food pyramid. In the original food pyramid published in 1992, it was recommended that we eat 6-11 servings a day of bread, cereal, and pasta, 2-4 servings of fruit, 3-5 servings of vegetables, 2-3 servings of dairy, 2-3 servings of meat, and minimal amounts of fats and sweets.
In 2005, the USDA released an updated food pyramid. In this new pyramid, 50% of a healthy individual’s diet should consist of dairy and grains. Vegetables add another 23%, fruits another 15%, meat and beans another 10%, and oils another 2%.
When examining this food pyramid, something is very wrong with it. Before I get into what is ideal in regards to a healthy, sufficient diet, I want to describe what is wrong with these recommendations.
To begin, the USDA has mixed incentives. The major food corporations do not produce the healthiest food. In the U.S., the 4 most highly subsidized foods are corn, soy, wheat, and rice, with the dairy and livestock subsidies not far behind. This is already saying something, in regards to trusting the food pyramid.
To help put it into perspective, between 1995 and 2009, the U.S. government spent 245 billion dollars on food subsidies, in which fruits and vegetables received zero money.
Corn, wheat, and soy make up the majority of the feed for cows, which helps to create an interconnected web to explain the reason for the subsidies, as well as the promotion for certain food groups to be consumed.
Former USDA director of dietary guidance stated:
“As I learned from my days as a USDA nutritionist, nutrition for the government is primarily a marketing tool to fuel growth in consumer food expenditures and demand for major food commodities… It’s an economics lesson that has very little to do with our health and nutrition and everything to do with making sure that food expenditures continue to rise for all interests involved in the food industry… It’s evident that the government can’t be relied on to provide objective, health-promoting food and nutrition advice.”
For starters, grains should not be at the bottom of the food pyramid. Honestly, the only foods that are essential to human health are vegetables, healthy fats in the forms of nuts, avocados, and certain oils, such as olive oil, and some kind of protein, preferably some kind of animal protein.
Grains, such as wheat, and rice, are not essential to a well-balanced diet. They provide benefits in the form of fiber, some minerals, and excess calories, but they are quite void of nutrients.
If you are an athlete or a bodybuilder who needs excess calories, then it may be helpful, even necessary, to consume grains. However, for the average individual, it is not necessary to consume wheat products. However, when you do consume wheat, make sure to consume whole grain.
Another problem with the food pyramid, is how little fats it recommends consuming. “Good” fats are essential to a well-balanced diet. “Good” fats are found in certain oils, such as avocado oil, olive oil, and coconut oil, and they are best to be consumed in raw form. Other good sources of fats includes nuts and avocados.
Protein is also a controversial topic. Meat often gets a bad reputation for causing a variety of negative health effects, but it does not have much to back it up. A diet higher in protein helps increase satiety and helps to promote feelings of fullness. Although there have been many studies linking red meat consumption to cardiovascular disease, there is much controversy surrounding the real effects of red meat on our health.
Many health experts advocate for consuming red meat as a healthy source of protein. Regardless of whatever your health beliefs are, it is highly recommended that you consume relatively plentiful amounts of high-protein foods. These can be in the form of poultry, fish, meat, nuts, beans, quinoa, dairy, and eggs.
In conclusion, try to consume most of your foods in the form of vegetables, healthy fats, and protein. In lesser amounts, consume fruits. If you are in need of excess calories (or if you simply like the taste), add grains, but if you do, try to make them whole grain.
Dairy can also be a good addition to your diet, and is best to be consumed in whole milk form, as long as you are not lactose intolerant, which most people are.
When consuming animal products, really try to consume them from quality sources that are from grass-fed, free-range, antibiotic-free, hormone-free sources.
This will give you better quality nutrients, and greatly decrease your likelihood of contracting the harmful additives found in a lot of the mass-produced, hormone-packed animal products that are greatly hurting a lot of people’s health.
There you have it! More fat, more protein, more vegetables, and less carbohydrates!
Word-For-Word Lines For
In this FREE Manuscript:
We respect your email privacy
About Danny Maman My name is Danny Maman. I have a real passion for health and fitness and enjoy having a life that revolves around this. I have my bachelor's degree in exercise science with a minor in allied health. I am also a certified personal trainer with ACE and am a former college basketball player.