Tuesday, October 12, 2010


(Where do you think you're going? Come back and clean up this mess!)

From Serious Eats:

[The image of the USDA food pyramid] was hung on the walls of elementary schools, doctors' offices, and supermarkets nationwide. Unchanged for more than 30 years, the pyramid was familiar and recognizable to most.

Then in 2005, the United States Department of Agriculture released a newly designed food pyramid. This pyramid was shockingly different, featuring merging rays of color, each representing a food group, and an active man ascending a staircase (headed towards excellent health, one assumes). While more streamlined and eye-catching than the graphics-heavy original, the new pyramid has also been criticized for lack of clarity and poor nutritional recommendations.

On October 1, a new critique was published in the science journal Nutrition. The authors of the article, researchers and experts from a number of universities, were responding to a recent report by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. They claim that the DGAC does not appropriately utilize recent scientific findings in their recommendations. Vague language in the pyramid encourages eaters to "eat more" fruits and veggies but "go easy" on high-sugar fruit juices. Such information is of limited help to those seeking concrete advice, and the report does little to address public health issues such as obesity and diabetes.
My favorite comment was posted by Serious Eater Simon:

Sorry, but 11 slices of bread per day is freakin ridiculous. And really bad for you. Hello, hypoglycemia, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and colon cancer.

The food guidelines are biased towards grain products because this are the most heavily subsidized agricultural sectors, a holdover from Cold War policies.

If the food pyramid took our health into account, the base would be protein and veggies. Above that would be nuts and fruit. Above that would be dairy and starchy tubers. The very top, the things you should very little of, would be grains and sugars. The two things that are the most profitable. Fat chance.
Sounds like Simon's my kind of caveman.