You wouldn’t think that there would be much that changes when you talk about food and good health, but there is. Things that used to be considered healthy, like hydrogenated vegetable oil, no longer receive that title. Consider that vitamins were discovered less than 100 years ago, all fats were considered unhealthy until recently, you can see why the food pyramid isn’t relevant. Studies continue every day that challenge old beliefs, but some things remain true. You’ll be healthier if you eat food right out of the garden that you would be eating all highly processed food.
The Food Pyramid villainized healthy fat and equated it with sugar.
The old food pyramid had fats and sugars at the top, indicating these types of foods should be limited. What’s the problem with that? Not all fat is bad. You need healthy fat in your diet. The type of fat from avocados, nuts and fatty fish is necessary for a healthy diet. A mega study from Harvard was paid for by the sugar industry to indict fat and show sugar didn’t play a role in heart disease. That was used as the rationale, until years later when the bribe was discovered.
The food pyramid focused too heavily on grains.
One of the reasons the biggest part of the food pyramid, the bottom, was grains and cereals, was that there was a powerful lobbying group of grain producers that influenced it. Not only was the base of the old food pyramid grain products, it didn’t specify which type of grain products. Whole grains are the best and refined flour products are actually unhealthy.The bread basket base suggest between six and eleven servings each day, which is a lot. If you’re consuming a 2,000 calorie diet, six ounces should be the maximum of even whole grain products, not minimum.
MyPlate is better, but not quite perfect.
The replacement for the food pyramid was MyPlate. It does focus on the healthier types of carbs, such as fruits and vegetables using half the plate allotted for them with a quarter for grains and a quarter for protein. There’s no place for healthy fats on my plate and no discussion of what healthy protein options are. Check instead the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate. It does provide for healthy oils and identifies healthy options in all categories.
- Ounce equivalents of whole grain products include, ½ cup of: cooked brown rice, 100% whole grain pasta, or cooked oatmeal.
- While milk and milk products are both in the Food pyramid and MyPlate, dairy for adults isn’t nearly as healthy as it once was thought, especially low fat options.
- Omega-3 fatty acids should be more prominent, just as other healthy fats should be. You need healthy fat to feel full and also to help burn fat. It’s important to regulate hormones, absorb vitamins A, D, E and K, give cells structure and keep nerves, heart and brain functions proper.
- Both MyPlate and the Food Pyramid omit what healthy options are. Not all fats, proteins or carbs are as healthy as others. A hot dog has protein, but it’s not as healthy as salmon or beans.
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