Are you a follower of the Food Guide Pyramid, if you answer is yes, are you aware it has been in the height of contention why? Do you know 27% of calories we eat come from fast foods and are you among the one-third in the world that get 45% of their calories from junk food?
Food Guide Pyramid: Origin
Developed in 1992 by USDA United States Department of Agriculture known as Fast Food American Diet which was designed as a visual aid to encourage Americans to eat a “balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, meat and dairy foods”.
Drawbacks of the Food Guide Pyramid
The biggest Pyramid drawbacks is that it overlooked some important demography details over an extended period of time. Word has it that some USDA officials have admitted to the USDA Pyramid’s failure. Lets look at the drawbacks:-
- Carbohydrates: The pyramid suggests we eat 6-12 servings of cereal, bread, rice and pasta per day. But this recommendation fails to distinguish between whole grains and refined grains – good and bad carbohydrates. According to this model all carbohydrates are equal e.g brown rice and white pasta, the consumer may reason it doesn’t matter refined and unrefined because in the end both types turn into calories.
- Protein: The pyramid categorizes red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans and nuts together, failing to explain difference between plant over animal protein. Assuming both are same means two or three servings of beans, nuts or fish have the same value as two or three servings of red meat. Yet red meat has high saturated fat, cholesterol and contains no fibre while the nuts and beans are high in beneficial fibre.
- Dairy: The pyramid stress dairy products like milk help prevent bone loss and osteroporosis but stastics show that US have highest cases of osteroporosis and yet there are better sources of calcium found in broccoli, sukuma wiki (kale), almonds, tofu and soy milk.
- Fat: There are good fats and bad fats. Good fats e.g. olive oil, walnuts, vegetable oils and oils from fish, nuts and whole grain are good for your health while bad fats on the other hand include saturated fats from red meats, poultry and dairy products causing heart diseases and stroke
- Fruits and Vegetables: The pyramid was beneficial in the sense that it encourages the consumption of fruits and vegetables which good for your health
Recommendations for Food Guide Pyramid
The rising love of fast food originated from this pyramid hence poor nutritional habits. Kenyans included adapted to the western culture of believing that a fast food burger and chips are acceptable and fulfill the daily requirements for carbohydrates, protein and fat. A culture of obesity has cropped in to even our children, creating a new generation that eats fewer fruits and vegetables and more burgers, greasy chips, and sugary soft drinks.
In conclusion we are what we eat therefore whatever you choose to eat will eventually show from your skin to your body and who will blame, so look out next for recommended healthy Food Guide Pyramid.