This article is an opinion piece on the food pyramid of 2017.
In 1992, the USDA created a new food guide called the Food Pyramid. The government’s goal with this image was to illustrate variety, proportion, and moderation throughout the everyday diet. Still to this day the food pyramid is used to educate children and adults about a well-balanced diet. But, what most people don’t know is that not only is the food pyramid’s sequence inaccurate, it can also lead to an unhealthy diet.
One of the first downfalls about the food pyramid is that it encourages people to add carbohydrates to their diet when in fact leads the consumer’s diet to be dominated by excess sugar and starches from all the bread intake. Bread and carbohydrates fall at the bottom of the food pyramid, meaning they are the foundation of one’s diet. The food pyramid fails to emphasize the significance of whole grains over refined grains. Whole grain food includes brown rice, whole wheat, nuts, oats, etc. Refined grains include white bread, white rice, and pasta. Refined grains are processed, not having either bran or germ. Because of this, the removal of the bran and germ also remove dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins from the bread, making whole wheat a healthier option when it comes to carbohydrates. In the food pyramid, bread and other carbs are placed at the very bottom, for being the base of one’s healthy diet. Nutritionally, carbohydrates should not be consumed in great quantities but are still vital to a moderate and healthy diet.
Not only is the bottom of the food pyramid 2017 misunderstood, but the top is as well. The top of the food pyramid 2017 states that the least consumed foods should be oils, fats, and sweets. These foods are to be used “sparingly” according to the USDA. Though some oils, fats, and most sweets are loaded with sugars that are unhealthy, most ignore the significance of natural oils and fats. Dietary fat (fat found in foods and drinks) are important to some of the body’s functions and processes. Fat helps absorb and move vitamins and hormones throughout the body, along with keeping hair and skin healthy. “The fats your body gets from your food give your body essential fatty acids called linoleic and linolenic acid. They are called “essential” because your body cannot make them itself or work without them. Your body needs them for brain development, controlling inflammation, and blood clotting” (Dietary Facts Explained 1). Though a healthy diet includes a low amount of sugars, fats, and oils, the human body would not work the same without them. There are plenty of oils including peanut oil, canola oil, olive oil, etc. that have low amounts of saturated fat while giving your body the nutrition it needs.
Though dairy is an excellent source of Vitamin C, the food pyramid 2017 overemphasizes the importance and consumption of milk and cheese. Even when it comes to the calcium in milk, most calcium is added after milk is produced. “Contrary to popular belief, eating dairy products has never been shown to reduce fracture risk. In fact, according to the Nurses’ Health Study dairy may increase the risk of fractures by 50 percent” (Hyman 1). The USDA has successfully convinced consumers that dairy is not only good for you but vital to a good diet. But in reality, milk and other dairy products are unnecessary to consume. Dairy can also be linked to health problems including Allergies, Sinus problems, Ear infections, Type 1 diabetes, and chronic constipation. There are plenty of Vitamin C and calcium supplements one can take and there is plenty of other healthy drinks offering the same nutritional value.
If the USDA were to create an accurate, healthy, and nutritious food pyramid 2017 ideal for a healthy lifestyle, this is what it may look like: At the bottom would be lean meats and fish, as for both have high protein and fewer calories. On top of that would be vegetables, which is packed with nutrients and dietary fiber. Third would be fruits and berries, which both have minerals and vitamins. Fourth, would be the natural fats and oils. Fats and oils are essential to the human body and also helps the brain develop. Lastly, would be nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds have both vitamins and fats. The food pyramid has been constantly evolving and changing since 1992. It is time for the USDA to create a new food pyramid 2017 to set an example to the world what nutrition looks like.