The other day I was looking at the USDA Food Guide Pyramid, when I realized that according to the Health Experts, we are supposed to eat more grains and refined carbohydrates than anything else. I was wondering why, and I then remembered a post I did a month or so ago on Type 2 Diabetes. According to my research, grains and refined carbs convert into blood sugar faster than anything else – other than fruit or refined sugar – and a diet with meals heavy in fast-converting foods can cause type two diabetes.
So that aside, how does the Food Guide Pyramid work towards the health of the general public?
The thing is, the Health Experts don’t really explain that.
They do say, however, that the outline they have provided is supposed to keep cholesterol levels and heart disease risk down, by limiting the consumption of fats, oils, and protein (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy). Cholesterol isn’t bad for you, though, unless it’s from processed foods – from protein, fats (healthy ones such as butter and meat drippings), and oils comes the good cholesterol.
Contrary to the Food Pyramid, processed foods (such as refined grains and bread products) contain bad cholesterol from processing. The fats in dairy and meat were for a long time thought to cause heart disease by inflating cholesterol levels, but the doctors and scientists were wrong, unfortunately – and for several decades. As admitted by a heart surgeon on sott.com - “What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods. … The science that saturated fat alone causes heart disease is non-existent. The science that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol is also very weak. Since we now know that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, the concern about saturated fat is even more absurd today.”
That’s a shocking discovery.
So again… how is the USDA Food Pyramid a healthy diet?
Perhaps this is a better representation of the diet humans need to maintain health:
Why might this be a better guideline?
For one thing, vegetables are more nutritious than breads or cereals – think about it… are there more nutrients in a cup of stir fried vegetables or in two slices of bread? Another reason is that this diet is higher in protein and fat, which your body needs if it is going to build muscle, and it is impossible to overeat meat – you can’t sit down at an all-you-can-eat buffet and have two plates of meat, and you wouldn’t want to. But you could sit down at an all-you-can-eat buffet and eat toast, cereal, rice, cake, etc., and you would want to eat more even if you are full (because your body likes to consume things that turn into sugar quickly).
Also, consuming starches and meats hinders digestion, so with an even amount of meat and vegetables, and less starch (pure starch like flour, mostly, but also starchy vegetables), it is easier to work your meals so that you don’t have to eat meat with starch.
You may have noticed that I did not include fats and oils at the top of the pyramid – the reason? Fats and oils have long been falsely accused as culprits. Some of them are, but the pure natural ones are beneficial to your health. Butter and olive oil are the two main natural oils. Butter comes from milk that has merely been churned. Olives naturally contain a free-flowing oil which is obtained through crushing them. Soybeans, peanuts, canola, and vegetables do not have an easily obtainable oil – they have to be superheated, pressurized, dropped into vats of acid, extruded, and extracted before they yield their low-quality oils.