There are actually some good things about the current USDA Food Pyramid:
- Whole grains are encouraged.
- They recommend a variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Physical activity is also promoted.
However…there are a lot of rotten recommendations as well:
Keep in mind that these guidelines dictate what our school kids are taught, what they will eat, what our military are fed, what is served in hospitals, and on an even larger scale, what the food manufacturers will be pumping out of their factories, which will then be advertised like crazy as “good for us”…
- While whole grains are encouraged, they don't mention that some people just can't digest them or shouldn't be eating them. Also notice the grains portion of the pyramid is the biggest. Not that I’m always good about this, but if I was setting government guidelines, I’d be sure to make it known that fewer carbs are best (especially when dieting).
- Low-fat dairy is recommended – give me a break! No wonder people still think low-fat is a better option, when the government is spouting the same old screwy information. (And sadly, the government is FAR from seeing the truth on the raw milk issue.)
- The oils section is so messed up, I don’t even know where to start. They are stuck in the same misguided “saturated fat is bad” mentality. They promote vegetable oils instead! See more info on healthy fats here.
- Why is the meat section so small? And of course there’s no mention of avoiding conventional meats, or of pastured/grass-fed being best, or that you should find meat without junk like hormones or antibiotics, etc.
Do you remember the previous food pyramid? The one that looked like this:
Well I’ve heard that this should be flipped right upside down, without the sweets part, of course. Makes sense to me!
Watch this YouTube video with Dr. Michael Eades. He talks with Bill Riley about the problem with the current Food Guidelines.
More you might like:
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- How MOMS may be Hurting Local Farms More than Monsanto (& Why Farmers Markets are Shrinking)
- Have you looked through these Random Reader Questions?
1st photo, 2nd photo
Michele, I’ll email you, but what I’ll do is take you off my list so that you can re-subscribe. Hopefully that will work. 🙂
I have stopped receiving your daily e-mails updates. I noticed they stopped towards the end of December. I also stopped receiving Cheeseslave, Nourishing Days, The Nourishing Gourmet, The Nourished Kitchen, and The Nourished Life. I need all of you to help me on this journey of trying to eat well and make changes in my diet. I am totaly bummed out!! Please help to get this problem fixed if you can. Thanks!
Just posted comment please feel free to email [email protected]
Yes! Our current food system should be of great concern both on a national level and international level. If you wont to know about something that offers great solutions and great promise….. research Moringa Oleifera . The NIH -National Instiutes of Health saids ” in fact like no other single species, [Moringa] has the potential to help reverse multiple major enviromental problems and provide for many unmet human needs. It could save millions of lives. God Speed.
I think the grain portion is so big because of all the lack of whole grain. I know that that’s the reason why they tout eating grains so much because all of the fortified grains need to be eaten way more than whole grains and they assume with cereal eating that everyone eats a good deal of grains anyway. The oils are mainly there for the omega’s. That’s all I know though.
I so agree! Thank you for sharing with WFMW. I used to be all smug, but now I just feel sorry for people who are stuck in the typical american diet rut and feel crummy all the time.
Michelle @ Find Your Balance says
The funniest part of the USDA food pyramid in my opinion is that the entire blue food group is called “Milk” instead of dairy. Guess which industry lobbies the hardest for their place in the pyramid?? haha it’s just silly politics and it’s sad as hell that politics dictate how nutritionists have to feed patients and schools feed kids and the government feeds military.
The food pyramid put out by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition is perhaps not perfect but I like that it isn’t influenced by politics. And the food is surrounded by water and healthy lifestyle because it takes all of these things to be well nourished. https://www.integrativenutrition.com/Program/PrimaryFoods.aspx
Michelle @ Find Your Balance
What confuses the heck out of me, is back when I was a kid, mid 60’s (yep I’m old) we didn’t call stuff like pasta and rice grains, they were starches. Potatoes and corn were not veggies they too were starches. When someone wanted to lose weight the first thing they did was cut all starches. Why that ever changed is beyond me. But the new pyramid is no better than the other, it just looks fancier and gives people a false since they are eating better, when like another poster stated, they are on the same basic diet as used to fatten cattle.
Lauren B says
I agree that the pyramid needs to be flipped Kelly–mostly meat and green veggies would do a lot of overweight Americans good! I know I function best on very few carbs. It’s the only way that a lot of people can manage food addiction issues, via controlling blood sugar levels/seratonin output. Great post!
Teena, I loooooooove your story!!! Wink, wink.
Cat, yes! Keep telling the kids the truth! 🙂
Chris, I emailed you at the email you used to post here…hopefully you got it.
Zeke, I should’ve just written a shorter post, eh?!
Yes, I would agree with what you said, although some (Dr. Eades and also the Primal folks I believe) would say that we can live quite well (and healthier) on a VERY low carb (no carb?) diet. I think I fall more in line with your thinking, that a *small* amount of GOOD carbs would be best, and I say this because common sense tells me that traditional cultures did eat carbs. Nothing like the crap-carbs we eat today, though! I say this, yet go in streaks with my own low-carb eating…
The rest of you, if I didn’t respond to you personally, that just means that I wholeheartedly agree with what you said!
I know for me, the upside down pyramid would be ideal (minus the sweets). I function best on a high fat and high protein diet with decent amounts of raw dairy. If I eat more than a few grains, etc., I’m in trouble! It’s hard to do though because our society is definitely very carb heavy.
thanks kelly as always for such a comprehensive amount of info included here, especially in the raw milk posts. I am shocked that dry milk powder is added to low-fat milk. I do have one area of concern though about your comments on grains or “carb” consumption. The percentage of the diet consumed in the form of carbohydrates, should be restricted for inactive adults, but for children, especially active kids, they do need 50% of their diets coming from carbs. That being said, those carbs should mostly be good carbs vs. bad carbs. Good carbs have protein and fiber, bad carbs have neither (refined flours and the zillions of packaged foods that contain refined flours). Even active adults need carbs, good ones. According to my research on nutrition, a blanket restriction on carbs is not the answer, rather carbohydrate intake should be mostly “good” and will also vary based on age and activity level.
While I agree with you that 50% of grains being whole is not high enough, I do think that the USDA is getting folks acclimated to the idea that the American diet needs to change. If the average American was indeed able to shift to 50% whole grains AND limited their caloric intake of carbs to half of their calories that that would be a huge step in the right direction!
The food pyramid is too simplistic. Disease is caused by more complex issues. Even if you ate whole foods you can get sick from this kind of diet. Not to mention the absence of fermented foods that is so crucial to those that are sick. It should have a category all on its own “live probiotic foods” 🙂
Whats wrong with our current food pyramid?
Chris Rademacher says
Enjoy your blog very much! I, too, stopped receiving your emails aboyt a month ago and would like to start getting them again.
Raine Saunders says
I totally agree with you! The other day I posted an article about Big Corporations and Big Pharma dictating what we eat, and I talked about this very topic with the Food Pyramid being inaccurate about what we should eat, but that this is what everyone is taught from birth until death. https://agriculturesociety.wordpress.com/2009/06/11/big-corporations-and-big-pharma-dictating-whats-acceptable-to-eat/It's terrible! Thanks for bringing this to light, it’s so important!
Carrie Oliver says
I’m with you, the food pyramid is at best oversimplified and worst misguided. If the USDA ever came out and recommended that we avoid meat raised with steroids or preventative antibiotics I would be personally thrilled. It would at least be a step in the right direction and not just for husbandry/health reasons but because raising meat in lower stress conditions can enhance flavor and texture!
Very true! The Food Pyramid is deeply disturbing on many levels. 🙂
Thanks for sharing this in today’s Fight Back Fridays carnival.
Vin - NaturalBias says
The food pyramid is so flawed that an entire series of books can be written about it! What’s most disturbing, at least in my opinion, is the obvious influence of the agriculture and food processing industries.
Another issue with the amount of grains and dairy emphasized is that these are the two most common food sensitivities! These foods can literally destroy peoples lives!
Vin – NaturalBias
I just read 2 books—one is “Love carb living” by Johnny Bowden and another was Gary Taubes “Good Calories/ bad calories. Makes perfect sense and I love it. I am SO over the low-fat/ no-fat dogma. It simply does NOT work and I’m so tired of having to listen to the rhetoric. I have recently UPPED my fats and completely eliminated grains (for the time being) and I’ve lost 7 pounds in 2 weeks. Seriously, low fat does not work. Never has for a sustainable amount of time and never will.
Karen Ferguson says
Kelly…add creating out very own Weston Price pyramid…Does Ms. Fallon have one in her book?? Not that I remember. I say…let’s create one.
I too was baffled by this one. I’m used to seeing pictures not vertical separations on a triangle. But no matter: I seldom give any thought to the ancient thinking of our governments ideas about what I’m supposed to eat. They are sooo behind the times and just seem to spout what the local current dogma is at the moment: alas, it’s still, as you noticed, low fat/ no fat.
It simply does NOT work.
Hugs and thanks for reminding me of what I DON’T need to know. Let’s create a pyramid that works.
This new food pyramid is more confusing than any I’ve seen in my 50 years of living. But that’s okay… I’ll just keep infecting the minds of my summer camp kids so one day they too can spread the truth about satruated fats and excess carbohydrates. I’m reading a series of fiction books this summer that actually helps to get the point thru. The books are the Shadow Children Series by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Set in the future when there has been a world wide famine, the “Government” has set into motion a population control law, only 2 childern allowed. In book one, “Among the Hidden”, raised on a farm, the hero of the story, twelve year old Luke, third child of Edna and Harlan Garner, has always had home cooked meals, traditional foods… so to speak… but his sheltered life of hiding at home soon is altered forever. Over the course of the series, Luke learns of the plight of the rest of the Shadow Children and the plot of the “Government” to keep them in line thru starvation. This series was written in the 1990’s and is a chilling prophetic look into the direction our current govenment is leaning.
A while back I went to the food pyramid website and printed off the recommended portions for me. I followed it. Guess what happened, I gained weight, lost energy and didn’t get any healthier. It is so sad that people are taught to go by those recommendations.
Luckily my catholic sponser (great gal by the way) pointed me in the right direction. Since I have given up processed foods, HFCS, MSG, artificial sweeteners and additives, started reading labels, drinking raw milk and eating organic I have lost weight, have tons more energy and am getting real nutrition. Thanks Kelly 😉
Rebecca in Michigan says
Sally Fallon stated at the Detroit, MI conference that our pyramid is the same as the fattening cow pyramid. She said no wonder we have so much problems with obesity. Off to Boston to visit family. Can’t wait to see what others say.