• The Food Pyramid

    Does anyone else feel like the guidelines for what we should eat change every few years?  “Eat fewer eggs, they are high in cholesterol”… “Eat more eggs they are high in Omega-3”.

    Well, if you feel this way you are not alone and what is more, you are right!  The food pyramid (or in Canada the food rainbow) has been changing.  Sometimes these changes are in response to new research that indicates what is good for you.  But other times, changes in the pyramid are the result of powerful food lobby groups.   For example, the USA food guide pyramid was changed from “decrease consumption of meat” changed to “eat two to three daily servings of meat per week” in response to powerful meat lobby groups (1).  Because of problems with the food pyramid, the USA recently switched to MyPlate instead of the pyramid, but the over representation of meat and milk continue…  This phenomenon is not unique to the USA.  In Canada, although to a lesser extent (and with much less publicity), the food guide also indicates that a large amount of milk and meat products should be eaten.

    Perhaps the best food guide available is the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/pyramid/).  This food guide is based on scientific research and has not been influenced by large food conglomerations or lobby groups (unlike the other two guides).  The main difference is that this guide specifies that people should “limit red meat; avoid bacon, cold cuts and other processed meats” as well as “limit milk, dairy, and juice”.

    So what should we eat?  In general all the food guides recommend the following advice:  lots of whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables, fish, beans and nuts, and water.

    What can I do?

    If you are interested in finding out whether you are eating all the right food, download and complete the Health Canada Food Guide Servings Tracker to see how well you are doing at eating the right food groups.

     

    [1] Marion Nestle (2007).  Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health.  University of California Press Ltd.

3 Responsesso far.

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