What's wrong with the USDA Food Pyramid?
The Food Pyramid was put out by the Department of Agriculture in 1992. If you are thinking this seems like a conflict of interest you would be right! It's a big red flag. The Department of Agriculture’s goal is to promote agricultural production and trade, while protecting natural resources, promoting food safety, and ending world hunger. But wait, if they are making diet recommendations shouldn't part of their goal be based on nutrition and health? Well, yes - but sadly this is not the case. Based on economics, is it a wonder the basis of our diet according to them should be grains when the middle 1/3rd of our country is one large cereal farm?
In 1968 Senator George McGovern formed the Senate Select Committee On Nutrition and Human Needs, which ultimately came out with recommendations in 1977. A key influencer was Ancel Keys, who is the father of the “Lipid Hypotheseis” which blames fat consumption for heart attacks. His best proof for this was has own study that cherry-picked data to prove his hypothesis. He had data from 22 countries, and only used the best seven, which fit on, has graph. Indeed, Keys was having difficulty finding support among the scientific community, so he turned to unsuspecting politicians. The result is that the pyramid has fat as something to avoid. Certain fats cannot be made by the body, and are essential for life, whereas there is technically no need to consume carbohydrates- the body simply makes sugar out of protein as needed.
The Food pyramid Guide actually states that carbohydrates are not fattening, only what you add to them! This is just poor science. Complex carbohydrates like bread and pasta (whole wheat or not) are broken down into simple sugar quite rapidly by the body. The result is that two slices of bread can cause a blood sugar spike of over five teaspoons of sugar! The body can handle one teaspoon of sugar safely. Diabetics have chronically high blood sugar and suffer all kinds of ill effects from this. Fat on the other hand, does not spike blood sugar. In order for our bodies to get rid of such unnatural spikes of sugar, we secrete insulin, which altars the sugars to “triglycerides” for storage in fatty tissues. Incidentally triglycerides are more highly correlated to heart disease than cholesterol ever was. After a blood sugar spike comes a crash. No wonder we can’t make it between meals without a snack!
Over time, we come to rely on the carbohydrates more and more, while trying to rid of them out of our blood and into fat stores where they become locked up as a result of damaged metabolism called “Metabolic Syndrome”. This is a constellation of symptoms characterized by belly fat, high triglycerides, high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and high blood pressure among others.
The obesity rate has doubled since 1970, despite the fact that we are exercising more. Our fat and protein consumption has gone down, but we are eating on average 250 more calories of carbohydrate. The fats we are consuming now are toxic industrial seed oils like soy, canola, and corn oil, which lead to inflammatory issues and heart disease. This food pyramid is not working!
We need to return to the way we ate for millions of years. More good fats from animals, avocados, and coconut, no “Heart Healthy Whole Grains”, no industrial seed oils, and no sugar of processed food of any kind!