What You Must Know about the Food Pyramid

 

We all have pretty much been raised to reference the Food Pyramid when we want to eat healthy. Today’s Food Pyramid was created by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) in 1992 to guide Americans in making healthy eating choices.

 

Although the government made numerous recommendations on healthy eating long before the Food Pyramid this was the first ‘graphic like’ tool conceived by the government. In fact the Food Pyramid was preceded by several other healthy eating tools.

 

Way back in 1894 the U.S. government (USDA) made its first dietary recommendations to the public. In 1916 it published its first guide to eating entitled, Food For Young Children. In this publication, author Caroline Hunt, divided foods into five categories:

 

  • Milk and Meat
  • Cereals
  • Vegetables and Fruits
  • Fats
  • Sugars

 

This was the advent of the first Food Pyramid.

 

However, the Food Pyramid we now use was created to emphasize three main factors: variety, proper proportions, and moderation.

 

Today’s Food Pyramid looks a bit different than it did just a few years ago. A look at it now reveals a pyramid shape with vertical divisions of the ‘food groups.’ The width of the section varies to indicate the amount needed to eat for each group to maintain healthy, disease free living.

 

6 Main Groups in the Food Pyramid:

 

  1. Grains
  2. Vegetables
  3. Fruits
  4. Fats
  5. Milk
  6. Meats and Beans

 

The largest section is the grains while the smallest is fats. Although this is a helpful tool if you have no real idea how to eat, it falls short of really teaching the world, or in this case the citizens of the United States how to eat healthy for abundant life.

 

Does the Food Pyramid Tell All? A Look at the Facts

 

First it’s vitally important to know that when the Food Pyramid was being created the lobbyists for all of the big food industries were working hard to see that their particular type of ‘food’ earned a spot high on the list. The dairy industry, the meat industry, each of the respective industries spent thousands of hours and even more money to see that their own foods faired well on the Food Pyramid. Sad, but true.

 

Are Fruit Chews and Apples the Same?

 

In addition the Food Pyramid tells us what to eat and how much of each ‘category’ to eat. It doesn’t talk about the importance of the quality of the foods in each category. For instance the amount of nutrients (including not just vitamins and minerals but antioxidants, enzymes, and more) you get from a fresh, organic carrot are much different than the ones you get from a pre-cooked, highly processed, can of carrots. There’s just no comparison.

 

In fact one of the biggest shortcomings of the Food Pyramid is just this. It makes no distinctions or recommendations in regards to eating highly processed foods. And if you look at the history of our eating (the addition of highly processed foods) and our rate of increase in lifestyle diseases there is a strong correlation. The more processed foods we eat the higher the rate of lifestyle diseases including cancers, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and more.

 

The Food Pyramid can be a useful tool in some aspects however if you truly want to feel good, look good, and prevent the onset of chronic diseases then you should make an effort to eat fresh, organic, and non processed foods as much as you can on a daily basis.

 

If you listen to your body and use your common sense when eating (be honest!) you’ll know exactly what to eat, how much of it, and when. You don’t really need the government to tell you, do you?

 

 

 

Bookmark this page
Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Delicious Reddit Diigo BlinkList