Does the USDA’s Food Pyramid Make You Fat?

Topics: Obesity and Weight Loss
Dr John La Puma

Food Pyramid for Kids Responsible?

food pyramid for kids children food pyramid Kids SnacksMore and more people, including Harvard scholars and Professors of Nutrition-think so. The cover of Newsweek on January 13, 2002 displayed “A Better, Healthier Way to Eat.” The product of intense lobbying by special interest processed food lobbies, the Food Pyramid for kids is taught in thousands of grade schools around the U.S.–and arguably, making kids and parents fatter every day.

Why? Judith Weinraub of the Washington Post says, of the revolutionary Institute of Medicine Report issued last year

“What got less attention was the committee’s recommendations regarding diet, that is, that adults should get 45 percent to 65 percent of their calories from carbohydrates, 20 percent to 35 percent from good fats, and 10 percent to 35 percent from protein. And that isn’t the way the current pyramid is constructed.”

Weinraub writes
“• By grouping all fats and oils together (with sweets) at its narrow top, it not only doesn’t distinguish the difference between good fats (polyunsaturated fats such as olive oil and canola oil and omega-3 fatty acids) and bad (saturated fats and trans unsaturated fatty acids). It also doesn’t emphasize the ways in which good fats can actually be healthful or suggest enough examples of them.

• The pyramid isn’t up to speed on protein either, lumping meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts all together without differentiating their health differences, which are many.

• It considers potatoes (which are mainly starch) a vegetable.

• It doesn’t distinguish between high-fat and low-fat dairy products.

• And it puts bread, cereal, rice and pasta together at its broad base, even though there are significant differences between refined carbohydrates (like white bread and white rice), which are not particularly good for you, and unrefined ones (such as brown rice, and whole-grain breads and pastas), which are good for you.”

These are all valid points. But the best way to eat is individualized, with small changes that make a big difference. For that, you need credible, scientific, careful, personal approach. Talk to your doctor about the next step–for you.

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Also check our health articles for kids!

Food Pyramid for Kids & Parents by USDA