Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Science and the evolution of food pyramids?

It is interesting to examine the development and changes made to the USDA Food Pyramid over the last 20 years.  The first food pyramid today has been criticized as non-scientific and overly dependent on industrial interests.  While this pyramid is not the greatest, it still isn't bad, and most Americans diets would greatly improve by eating according to it. 
The first USDA Food Pyramid introduced in 1992.  This pyramid has been criticized as today as no longer having a scientific basis and being overly influenced by industrial interests.
Due to changes found in dietary research the USDA introduced the New Food Pyramid in 2005.  The new pyramid is significantly better than the old but still is criticized as being influenced by industrial interests in some regards as opposed to scientific knowledge. 

The new food pyramid has fewer grains and specifies whole grains, significantly increases plant oils (thus distinguishing between saturated and unsaturated fats), decreases meats and dairy, increases fruits and vegetables,  increases/adds legumes, increases/adds nuts and seeds, and so on.  There are a lot of huge and important changes in this food pyramid.  Criticism of this pyramid has come in regards to there being still too many servings of meat and dairy products (Yes the critics have a strong scientific basis).  Based on the scientific research though this is a greatly improved food pyramid despite criticism and again Americans would do very well to eat according to this pyramid.  In my opinion, and their is significant research to support this, a myriad of health problems in the USA would largely disappear if most Americans ate according to the pyramid.  Unfortunately, most Americans eat with this pyramid upside down by eating large amounts of meats and dairy products and very few fruits, veggies, and whole grains.

In my opinion there are probably several possible scientific based food pyramids that are very healthy.  And obviously there are many thousands that are not healthy and not scientifically based.  In some of my readings and research I came across several interesting ones which I believe are scientifically shown to at least be as healthy as the original 1992 Food Pyramid. 

Dr. Weil's Anti-inflamitory food pyramid.  As far as I can tell this is a very scientific based healthy food pyramid.
Okinawa Diet Food Pyramid.  Based on research of the diet of the Okinawa people who are well known to have some of the longest lifespans in the world. 
Dr. Weil's and the Okinawa pyramids are both scientifically based and bare a lot of resemblances to the USDA New Food Pyramid.  I also found all kinds of other food pyramids such as the Bunny Food Pyramid which I don't suggest for people but only for bunnies (As it was designed for).  Interestingly though there are some similarities in the bunny pyramid to the people pyramids above.

The Bunny Food Pyramid.  Suggested for bunnies not people.  I don't know any person who can eat or wants to eat grass or alfalfa. 
As far as biology goes, our diet is about as practical as it gets.  We all have to eat and our health is largely determined by our diet.  We should all seriously consider what we eat.  Well, unless you are this guy... Then your diet doesn't matter at all...

Ok, you're right, I am convinced this is a hoax.  Apparently not everything on the internet is true...

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