A few emails prompted me to look into the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Pyramid used for the last decade by Americans. Has it worked for us to be a healthier nation? Are we not following the Pyramid as a guide? Or is the Food Pyramid all wrong?
Researchers will be debating this for years to come, but recent evidence and studies have urged the USDA to make changes to the Food Pyramid. A quick and easy solution to the Food Guide Pyramid would be to switch the place of Fruits and Vegetables with the Breads, Cereals, Rice and Pasta group. Many could argue about the number of servings each group should have, but leaving the serving sizes as they appear on the pyramid makes dietary sense. Also, there are too many servings of refined sugars, simple carbohydrates in the bread, rice, cereal group in my opinion.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the altered Food Pyramid (below) is the guide to Healthy eating:
Personally, for me, as a very active person and fitness trainer/writer, I recommend adoption of the Food Guide Diamond, which takes the current Pyramid and nearly reverses it as shown below:
The Food Diamond
The Food Diamond separates the fatty animal meats from more leaner healthier meats and well as adds junk food/poor cooking choices as a group. The addition of one of the most important elements to our lives - Water and Daily Exercise should also be addressed. I usually recommend people to drink 3-4 quarts of water a day - especially if you are an active person. Personally, Harvard has the best pyramid since it is the only one that introduces daily exercise as part of the caloric process and separates fatty foods from leaner foods within the same food groups.
I am not a dietician, but you do not need to be one in order to know how to feed yourself and your family. In a nutshell, buy more produce in the form of fruits and vegetables, eat leaner meats, and limit (not eliminate) breads, rice, and cereal. If you need any information on the Food Guide that are many articles supporting both sides of the argument found by typing the Food Pyramid into a search engine. Good luck and eat right!
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Military.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.