Sunday, May 2, 2010

Will the Real Food Pyramid Please Step Forward

By Ed Bruske
aka The Slow Cook

This news is not exactly new but deserves a wider audience: The woman who originally developed the federal "food pyramid" says her team at the U.S. Department of Agriculture never intended for grains and starches to be at the bottom, meaning the foundation. That distinction was originally reserved for fruits and vegetables.

But somehow as the pyramid worked its way up the political chain of command, and became subject to corporate food lobbying, fruits and vegetables got replaced with cereals and other refined grains.

Originally, the pyramid recommended Americans consume a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, with five to nine servings daily, wrote Luise Light, the nutrition team leader and former director of Dietary Guidance and Nutrition Education at the USDA. Cereals and grains were only supposed to be eaten as two to four servings per day.

But all that got switched around. When the final pyramid came out, the federal government was recommending that Americans eat up to 11 servings daily. Cereals and grains are starches, which turn into sugar (glucose) when eaten. Sugar is identified as a prime mover in the nation's epidemic of obesity and diabetes.

Remember that point in Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution" when he can't believe he's supposed to serve grains on top of grains? This is where that crazy USDA concept comes from.

Bottom line: don't trust the government standards. They were written by corporations trying to sell processed foods.

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