Apparently, the Food Pyramid is making a comeback but does it meet the needs of the modern man?

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Apparently, the Food Pyramid is making a comeback but does it meet the needs of the modern man?

It has been reported that the Food Pyramid is making a comeback, as a way to counter the numerous food diets and programs on offer. There is much information, and it seems as much confusion, about what to eat and what not to eat – but is the food pyramid really the epitome of healthy eating?

Does the food pyramid truly meet the needs of the modern man?

Apparently it is labelled as something ‘stable’ for consumers to come back to – a tried and tested way of eating. Yes, it has been around for a relatively long time, but an important question for us to consider very deeply when looking at this model is:

Does something having a long history or being around for an extensive period of time mean that it holds the key to healthy eating?

History of the Food Pyramid

One of the earliest records of a food pyramid is from Sweden, in the 1970s. A three-tiered triangle depicted with cheap basics at the bottom like bread, potatoes, pasta, margarine and milk; supplementary fruits and vegetables in the middle and pricier meat products at the apex was designed by a cookbook author who was focussed on addressing not nutritional, but cost, issues.

It was brought in at a time where food prices were soaring and the citizens were complaining. The concept was that from the bottom alone, people could meet the majority of their daily protein needs and half their requirement for calcium and iron – all for less than three Swedish kronor (70 US cents) a day.

The iconic triangle known as the Food Pyramid has prevailed even when changes were introduced; My Pyramid, the Healthy Food Pyramid, My Food Plate and the Healthy Eating Plate, to name just a few, have all come about as people tried to re-define healthy eating. USDA scientists, nutrition experts and consultants as well as intense lobbying efforts from a variety of food industries have all attempted to create a model of eating, involving keeping the staples of cereals, bread, pasta, grains and potatoes at its root.

In summary, the food pyramid was introduced as:

  • A way to eat when times were really tough financially
  • A way to eat to prevent certain diseases, as was believed at the time

Whether we realise it or not, many of us will have been influenced to some extent by the food pyramid, as it has been recommended broadly: schools, food labels, governments, medical and other allied health care practices.

However if we look at the disease and illness statistics over the last 50 years evidence shows that, as a global community, the food we are eating is not necessarily supporting us to live well.

  • Bread, cereals, pasta, potatoes, rice and grains all contain sugar and/or convert to sugar very quickly in our bodies. How much of these foods should we really be eating?
  • Should our food choices be prescribed as ‘one size fits all’?
  • Would we be better served to base our food choices on how we are living each day and what our bodies truly need, in consideration of the type of work we do, our general health, how much we exercise, as well as our age?

There is a pull from deep within us to want to eat well, as most of us desire to feel vital and well all day, every day. So, where does it all go pear-shaped? Why are we so drawn to look outside of ourselves to books, experts or celebrities to see what living and eating well means? Could the types of foods recommended, actually be contributing to our ever-increasing health problems?

Could The Food Pyramid actually be making our food expenses smaller, but adding to our waistlines growing larger?

We would be wise to re-look at the foundation upon which we are making food choices and take some more progressive options.

After all, we do it with our cars, our phones and other gadgets, where we are very willing to keep up with the next leg of technological advancement or the latest update. Each time a new version of the i-Phone is announced we form queues around the block before shops even open – our eagerness to keep up with the latest features is sky high.

We wouldn’t be seen running back to Motorola Flares (mobile phone of the 1990s), or back to using postal services instead of emails, ditching an airplane for a horse and cart ride . . . yet when it comes to food – the very fuel for our body, for the vehicle that moves us through life – we seem to be prepared to somewhat apathetically embrace an outdated, unsupportive way of eating that came about decades ago when dollars were short and our awareness low, and which now possibly serves the modern man naught.

In living in the year 2016, is it not high time for a review of what food choices we could be making that equate to the needs of the modern man? Addressing the needs of today can be achieved if the modern man is ready to stop and take heed of what his and her body is telling them – the rest is much more simple and, if allowed, can come naturally.

Sources: Minger, D. (2013). Death By Food Pyramid. Primal Blueprint Publishing California pg. 17

Filed under

NutritionVitalityDietsFood pyramidHealthy diet

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