The “Healthy Eating Pyramid” Pathway Toward Good Health And Long Life
Article by Connie Limon
Do you ever wonder what happened to the Food Guide Pyramid?
The Food Guide Pyramid was created more than ten years ago by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Pyramid illustrated what the USDA said were the elements of a healthy diet. The Pyramid was taught in schools, appeared in the media and brochures, on cereal boxes and food labels. It seemed like the absolute final word on what we should really eat.
The Food Guide Pyramid is now like a fairytale. It did not point the way toward healthy eating. We are told now the Food Guide Pyramid was based on shaky scientific evidence. It still has not changed over the years to reflect major advances in our understanding of the connection between diet and good health.
Recently, the USDA retired the old Food Guide Pyramid and replaced it with MyPyramid, a new symbol and “interactive food guidance system. This revision is basically the old Pyramid turned on its side.
Good news about the new MyPyramid:
* It tears apart and buries the flawed Pyramid.
Bad news about the MyPyramid:
* The new MyPyramid does not give us enough information to help us make informed choices about our diet and long-term health.
* It continues to recommend foods that are not essential to good health.
* The food quantities recommended may even be detrimental to our overall health.
So…..what do we eat to become and stay healthy?
According to a new dietary guideline released early in January of 2005:
* We are to continue to concentrate on controlling weight;
* Fats were once considered bad. The new guidelines emphasize low intake of Trans fats and to limit our saturated fats. There is not an artificially low cap on fat intake. The latest advice recommends getting between 20% and 35% of daily calories from fats. The new guidelines also recognize the potential health benefits of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats;
* Complex carbohydrates was a term used in the past that has little biological meaning;
* The new guidelines advise Americans to limit sugar intake and stress the benefits of whole grains;
* The guidelines suggest eating half of our grains as refined starch, although refined starches behave like sugar, add empty calories, have adverse metabolic effects, and increase the risks of diabetes and heart disease.
* The guidelines lump together red meat, poultry, fish, beans and soy products and tell us to judge these protein sources by their total fat content. This means to make choices that are lean, low-fat, or fat-free. This advice ignores the evidence that these foods have different types of fats. It also leaves out evidence that replacing red meat with a combination of fish, poultry, beans, and nuts offers numerous health benefits.
So…..if we follow this new dietary guideline we still may not be eating “right,” according to the Harvard School of Public Health. The Harvard School of Public Health nutrition experts created the “Healthy Eating Pyramid.” It is based on the best available scientific evidence about the links between diet and health.
The Healthy Eating Pyramid is based upon daily exercise and weight control. Evidence proves daily exercise and weight control influences your chances of staying healthy. They also stress what and how you eat and how your food affects you.
Some highlights of the Healthy Eating Pyramid are outlined below:
* Whole grain foods (at most meals).
* Plant oils: Good sources of unsaturated fats include olive, canola, soy, corn, sunflower, peanut, and other vegetable oils and fatty fish such as salmon.
* Vegetables (in abundance) and Fruits (2 to 3 times per day).