Friday, September 17

USDA Still Doesn’t Get It


Did you know that there is a new Food Pyramid from the USDA?  I had no idea the USDA finally woke up and adjusted their recommendations.  As it turns out, the New pyramid is definitely leaps and bounds better than the Old, but still completely unbalanced in how they prioritize their food groups.
You’ll notice Grains still have the top most emphasis.  The only change from Old to New is that now the USDA is emphasizing whole grains.  This pyramid is obviously still more concerned with our agriculture industry rather than our waist lines.
It’s great that Vegetables have a large portion of the pyramid, but the USDA is pretty undiscriminating when it comes to starchy or high-carbohydrate vegetables.  If you were trying to lose weight, decided to load up on veggies, but then only ate peas and legumes, then you would be fighting a losing battle.
I’m not surprised to see Fruits next on the pyramid.  Fruits are good to have in your diet, but you want to be careful with natural sugars like fruit.  Sugar, is sugar, is sugar.  You can have too much fruit in your diet just as much as you can have too much candy in your diet.
I’m fascinated that we’ve reached Oils already without encountering Meats yet.  The USDA definitely got one right with their recommendation of fats, but their priorities could use some adjusting.
Ah, Milk.  I guess dairy farmers lost the fight on this one finally that they get bumped to the second to last priority.  They still emphasize milk in American diets way more than any of us should be consuming, but they got it right with the low-fat recommendation.
And that brings us to Meat & Beans.  Poor protein.  If we follow the New pyramid, we are going to be some hungry, munchy individuals.  The USDA has some good recommendations under here with a preference for lean, non-fried meats.  But without a significant amount of protein in your day, you are going to want to eat constantly.
All in all, I wouldn’t recommend using the New food pyramid as a guide to healthy eating.  The http://www.mypyramid.gov/ site does, however, have some other great resources (like calorie counts and nutritional information).

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