If you ask any nutritionist or dietician, they will tell you that the food pyramid was doomed from the beginning. However, one has to wonder just how did the government mess it up in the first place?
Anyone who was an adolescent before the turn of the 21st century is sure to remember the posters hanging on the walls of their school rooms. That all too familiar, multicolored triangle, with its milk carton, chicken drumstick, and leafy broccoli stalk proudly on display.
We were thoroughly educated on how essential it was to follow the different blocks and levels of the pyramid, as well as how much of each level we were required to eat every day. Don’t forget how anything at the very tippy-top of the pyramid was pretty much a “no-no” but also happened to be the foods we enjoyed the most.
Now, many decades later, it has been determined that not only was the government woefully misinformed on the pyramid’s overall instruction but in fact, by following its layout can not only prove to be harmful but lead to a very unhealthy diet regime.
So, just how did the government get the food pyramid so wrong? The problem may actually lie in the fact that it was believed that most individuals were in need of more nutrition—not less. And what the best manner in which to increase your caloric intake—you got it—carbs!
Today’s nutritionists have learned that not all fats are “bad” and that the eating of a diet with a low-fat intake can cause a multitude of problems. The problem is that those who chose to follow the food pyramid were replacing the high-fat items, which were detrimental to good heart health, with junk food items that were low-fat. It seemed that people had been conditioned to equate the term “low-fat” with healthy, when in the over scheme of the pyramid was not 100 percent the case.
Then there was the fact that the food pyramid encouraged the choosing of those foods that were carbohydrate-heavy, which in turn generated diets that were high sugar, starches, and empty excess calories.
The bottom of the pyramid, or the base, contained a multitude of grain choices. When individuals saw this, they believed that carbs were based in grains only, and not in fruits and vegetables as well. There was also the fact that the type of grains suggested in the graphic was problematic in their own right. It seemed the graphic didn’t emphasize the need for whole grains, and as a result, many were consuming refined grains.
There was also the overall absence of portion size and control. Many were prone to placing what was viewed as a serving when in actuality it was a portion size, which in turn can contain several servings. Although the original food pyramid contained a booklet that spelled out how one should have measured a serving, many either did not know of it or didn’t take the time to read it.
The food pyramid, although deemed a masterful development of its time, has pretty much fallen to the wayside today. As the years passed, many experts began to realize just how wrong the government was in the pyramid’s development, and today it is pretty much an icon of a bygone day.