People tell you that low fat is the way to go, others say the opposite. Why all the fuss over food? Surely we have bigger fish to fry like the economy, global warming or terrorism. But for the 97.1 million adults and 6.7 million children and teens who are overweight, for moms trying to make the right decisions for their families and for healthcare professionals. This food fight is a war that needs attention now.
Back in 1956 The USDA published a pamphlet. It was educational information for the public and it was called “Food for Fitness—a Daily Food Guide.” The primary purpose of the basic four food groups was to ensure adequate nutrient consumption. I vaguely remember the jingle that was used to educate us about the four food groups, “Four, four, three, two that’s the way for me and you.” The groups were breads (4), fruits and veggies (4), meat (3) and dairy (2) respectively. Each group was represented in the shape of a square and neatly stacked into a larger square.
Carbohydrates are not essential nutrients, yet based on current standards recommendations include 6-11 servings of low fat, high carbohydrate foods including bread, pasta, rice, cereal. Eleven servings from this group translates into approximately 1000 calories. Quite frankly these are generally processed foods that contain little fiber or nutrients, without fortification. If you look at the portions that equal a serving, you can see how easy it is to overeat these foods. One portion of rice or pasta is 1/3-1/2 cup.
Here’s The Shocker: You expect to be eating healthy low fat foods but most of these foods contain trans fat, added sugar, high fructose sugar and other additives that can affect hunger, weight and hunger. For many people the sugar load from the food alone, sans additives, is enough to turn them into a classic case of Dr. Jeckyll, Mr. Hyde. *
How did it come to pass that the nation follows a food pyramid that directs consumers to eat up to 11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta? Well, it may be as simple as politics and a rush to judgment by healthcare leaders who may not have considered that things are not always what they appear to be. The monetary gain for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the governing body responsible for this recommendation, (not objective research or from nutritionists) is obvious.
There is no direct evidence that supports eating more foods like bread, cereal and pasta and that these foods are better than eating more vegetables. The health benefits of real food such as, vegetables, nuts/seeds, eggs/meat/fish poultry and fruits vs. the processed foods that are typically consumed at each meal: cereal, bagels, muffins, pasta, white bread and white rice are neglected by the USDA pyramid. Green leafy vegetables, more than any other foods, should be consumed in the greatest amounts and found at the bottom of the pyramid. Vegetables contain the least amount of calories and have very little amounts of carbs and fat. They are also packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients. There is abundant research supporting the health benefits of vegetables. Now, if you just can’t seem to get in enough veggies or just want to give yourself a boost. I can’t say enough about GREENS Plus® Wild Berry Burst: http://greensplus.com/product_info.php/cPath/84_21_23/products_id/130
One daily serving delivers the nutritional equivalent of more than five full servings of fresh fruit and vegetables.
There was one $885,000 study carried out by a private firm in 1991 that tested the educational value of the pyramid on individuals with minimal education and children to determine its value. And “voi-la”, the food pyramid was born. This is a far cry from all the noise made about the need for studies (not one but many) that support a different view of a healthy diet.
America evolved into a country that prided itself on “bigger is better” (cars, electronics, portion sizes), convenience (Drive-in and then Drive-thru services), and value of the dollar (larger portions, the buffet and of course the value meal). Looking back, no matter what types of food we ate we should have suspected that the strides we made would set us up for the weight and health issues we face now. Not many would predict it would take its toll on the Nations weight and health as it has….But it has.
So here we are with this BIG problem, everything and almost everyone is BIG!
Common sense would suggest that it is important to eat a variety of foods and balance the food groups. So, here’s what I suggest.
First scale back the breads, cereals, pasta etc…to bring your body into balance. Once you feel and look a little better, try to balance essential nutrients (healthy fats and proteins) with carbohydrates. Check out:
- www.MetabolismSociety.org and http://www.nmsociety.org/LowCarbResearch.aspx
- *The Stubborn Fat Fix, http://www.amazon.com/Stubborn-Fat-Fix-Metabolic-Exercise/dp/159486828X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1241715723&sr=8-1,
- Josh Mankowitz from MSNBC, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4326777/