The USDA’s New Food Guide Pyramid vs. The Harvard’s Pyramid
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a new Food Guide Pyramid that is supposedly for healthier
It is now called MyPyramid and can be found at www.mypyramid.gov. It is interesting to note that during the
previous healthy guide period that the levels of obesity and type 2 diabetes rose dramatically.
It should be pointed out that the production of MyPyramid was heavily influenced by the food industry and
designed more to sell the products than it is to promote healthy eating. It is a great shame that the health
of our kids comes second to money and power. With influences from the Wheat Foods Council, American Meat
Institute, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Soft Drink Association, National Dairy Council and the
United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Council, is it any wonder that health is a secondary concern.
There is a shining light however, The Harvard School of Public Health has stepped in to offer some actually
healthy advice and have created their own version of MyPyramid and goes much closer to providing a daily
healthy eating plan; free from pressure of industry.
Quoting from the Harvard Report, “Tragically, the information embodied in this pyramid (MyPyramid) didn’t
point the way to healthy eating. Why not? Its blueprint was based on shaky scientific evidence, and it barely
changed over the years to reflect major advances in our understanding of the connection between diet and
“And it continues to recommend foods that aren’t essential to good health, and may even be detrimental
in the quantities included in MyPyramid.”
Well Done Harvard!
According to the USDA, the guidelines “provide authoritative advice for people two years and older about
how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases.” Who do they
think they are kidding? We know what the guidelines are all about and it is certainly not a healthy food
What is a huge concern is that MyPyramid is the standard for national programs federally, including school
lunches, and it provides guidelines for products that Americans buy.
In essence, MyPyramid will guide how billions of dollars are spent; so even a minor change in the guide can
equate to huge sums for industries.
A typical example of this is a battle that has been going on Arizona, whereby legislation was proposed to
ban the sale of junk food in schools in order to promote healthy eating for the children.
After a very long and tedious battle, it was decided that it was a no win situation and the health of our
children is a secondary matter and an agreement was reached to remove junk food from the primary schools,
however high schools will continue to supply it to the children.
I wonder what the price tag is being put our children’s health. It is no wonder that our children are suffering
from diseases such as ADD, ADHD, Obesity and type 2 diabetes. It is interesting that the cost of treating
these illnesses does not seem to come into the cost factor.
It is not new news that it is far healthier to consume grains in the wholemeal form, however MyPyramid believe
that is healthy for us to consume half of our grains as refined starches.
Harvard does not agree with this and points out that refined starch found in white flour, white rice etc.
is not only less healthy it actually increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Consuming refined
starches is akin to consuming huge quantities of sugar, as it creates a sudden rush of insulin production
to help the body to deal with the bombardment of refined carbohydrates.
The Harvard Pyramid says, “the body needs carbohydrates mainly for energy. The best sources of health
found in a healthy breakfast porridge recipe, whole-grain bread, and brown rice.”
Digestion of whole grains is slower which keeps insulin and sugar level in a steady and natural state. This
keeps hunger at bay and will lessen the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
The omission in both reports of the damaging effects of high fructose corn syrup is surprising as there should
at least be a warning.
Both reports suggest we should minimize intake of trans-fats, however it should be eliminated completely.
In fact it should be banned from the entire food supply as it has been in other countries.
Both pyramids suggest that fat intake should be limited to 20-35% of your total calorie intake. The USDA put
all its fat in one basket, however Harvard goes one step further to suggest that you eat more fish and poultry
and less beef. If you do eat beef then please ensure that it is organic. Lean, grass fed beef will stop you
from getting it filled with chemicals and hormones that are mixed into the feed of non-organic beef.
Harvard state that good sources of unsaturated fats include canola, soy, corn, olive, peanut, sunflower, vegetable
oils and some fatty fish like salmon. What they fail to mention is that canola oil is genetically modified
rapeseed oil and is used as pesticide and industrial oil and there is evidence of long-term health damage.
Avoid it if you can.
It is recommended that you do not use refined vegetable oils, although both guides suggest that you do. Refined
oils have basically had all nutrients and goodness refined out of them. Always go natural where you can.
Ensure that your salmon is wild salmon and not farmed salmon. Farm salmon is much lower in nutrients, especially
omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential in a healthy diet.
Farmed salmon is full of artificial colour and chemical additives to keep them alive. They are in overcrowded
pens surrounded by there own and every other fished excrement and the whole thing is as unappetising as it
The Harvard Food Pyramid now includes eggs. Once banned due to high cholesterol; but now recognized as a good
source of protein and nutrients. It is one of the best single foods that you can eat, but once again go organic.
Both food guides recommend that you eat as many fruit and vegetables that you can. One thing that is not in
the guides is how to eat your fruit and vegetables. Wherever possible try to eat your fruit and vegetables
raw. When you cook them, you effectively cook a great deal of the nutrients and goodness out of them. If
you are going to cook them, steam them lightly and stop while they are still crisp. When they are still crisp
you are maintaining the enzymes, vitamins, phyto-chemicals and flavanoids that are all great for your health.
Buy fresh fruit and vegetables whenever you can; and even better is to buy organic. Quite often they may not
be as good looking, but they are so much better for you and tastier as well.
The Harvard pyramid also recommends nuts and legumes (dries peas, beans, lentils). They are excellent sources
of protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals and should be included in your daily healthy eating plan.
Eating a handful of organic nuts and raisins everyday is a great way to get these into your diet. You could
try adding some dried sunflower and pumpkin seeds to a salad to give it some taste and texture.
When it comes to alcohol Harvard recommends two drinks a day for men and 1 for ladies. This is because men
metabolise alcohol better than women.
In line with the dairy industry the USDA is recommending 3 glasses of milk per day for calcium. Research indicates
that milk is one of the worst sources of calcium. Harvard is different in this respect to the USDA. Harvard
prefers dark leafy vegetables and supplements to meet calcium requirements. It also suggests getting plenty
of sunshine vitamin D, and muscle building exercise such as walking.
Harvard wisely recognises that there are many people who are lactose intolerance and get no nutritional value
form milk; and can actually get quite ill.
If you have to have milk then please make sure it is organic non-homogenised; it is much better for you. Get
your health food store to get it for you if they do not have it.
In order to overcome the shortcomings of diet, Harvard recommend taking a daily multi-vitamin. Harvard actually
suggests getting a generic multi-vitamin however there are better options to this. Generic Multi-vitamins
generally have a lot of other additives in them, whereas one like GHS Plus
will not only give you the vitamins that you need it will also aid in cleansing your arteries.
If you look at any healthy food pyramid it will not include eating in fast food restaurants.
Their food is associated to the causes of obesity, ADD, ADHD and type 2 diabetes. You should buy fresh healthy
foods, and where possible organic foods and stay healthy.
Your daily healthy eating plan should be carefully considered and you should look around and gather information
for yourself and create you own healthy food pyramid.
The contents of this article are courtesy of: GHS
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