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Is The Food Pyramid Killing Us? May 21, 2012

Posted by acroanmph in Public Health.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
diet, nutrition, food pyramid, heart disease, stroke, hypertension

Two groups of food pyramid promote leading causes of U.S. deaths

Hang in there with me for just a few minutes, folks.

The leading causes of U.S. deaths are heart disease, cancer, respiratory ailments and stroke. Right? In the vast majority of cases, these are attributed to poor nutrition, not genetics. What food groups do we as a nation consume the most? Meat and dairy. Consumption of which foods increases at the same rate as chronic disease and fatal illness? Meat and dairy. What are two of the main food groups the Food Pyramid encourages us to eat as part of our daily diet? Meat and dairy. Why would an agency of the federal government urge us to consume the two most unhealthy foods as part of each meal? (defended my 10-year old son).

Welcome to the Western diet, Western diseases and the cozy kinships within the USDA, a not unbiased agency which regulates and promotes their own interests. According to Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM),

The USDA’s statutory duty is to foster and assist in expanding uses in moving larger quantities of agricultural products throughout the private marketing system to consumers in the US and abroad. They compromise consumer health in favor of promoting specific food products.

The US spends more money on health care than any other developed nation, yet we have among the highest rates of preventable disease. Our convenient diets are nutritionally deficient, being high in fats, sugar, salt and animal proteins, as brilliantly researched by Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s famous 20-year China Study, and his subsequent work with the esteemed surgeon, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Forks Over Knives. Their independent and collaborative science illustrates that our bodies are engineered for optimum performance with plant-based nutrition.

For over a century, the USDA dietary guidelines have included meat and dairy as the primary sources of protein and calcium. A previous post, Calcium for Bone Health-Not What You Thought, details a direct correlation between animal-based calcium consumption and increased rates of osteoporosis.

The federal government is considering regulating our diets in an effort to tackle the obesity epidemic, especially in children, due to the amount of time spent and number of calories consumed during school hours. This is an appalling notion. There is obvious conflict mandating compliance with National School Lunch Program menus, and providing the very guidelines which promote obesity-related illnesses. Regular lunch entrees in my school district include corn dogs, breaded and fried chicken patties, breaded and fried chicken nuggets, fried mozzarella sticks, cheeseburgers and pizza. Always available: milk, ice cream, unhealthy snacks and drinks in vending machines. By contrast, a regular French school lunch in the town of Barjac, for example, consists of coleslaw, mussels mariniers, sautéed potatoes, and an organic, locally grown pear for dessert. Water and baguette are standard at every meal, of course. Karen LeBillon’s book, French Kids Eat Everything, details fundamental differences in their approach to school lunches. Menus are decided by regional school administrators and parents, there is no national food program, and there is a national ban on vending machines.

Each one of us is in control of our own health destiny. A plant-based diet not only prevents what’s killing us, but can reverse it. Dr. Esselstyn was shunned by the USDA after reporting his results, and the Food Pyramid still contains meat and dairy. In his TED talk, he explains our top killers are food-borne illnesses.

Your food choices are 100% up to you. What will you choose to eat today?

*           *           *

Forks Over Knives is streamable from Netflix. It just might save your life.

Related Posts:

My Picks: Top 10 Superfoods For Disease Prevention

Location, location, location! The High Cost of Living in a Food Desert

Trickery, Manipulation and $50: A Plan for School Cafeterias

The Kind Diet



1. Janice Flahiff - May 21, 2012

Great synthesis of reports, facts, and videos.
Thank you Amy.

acroanmph - May 21, 2012

Thank you, Janice. I’m hopeful that people will take control of their own diets. Forks Over Knives is the most important movie I have ever seen.

2. Fittodo4health - May 22, 2012

Life is a series of choices; these choices give us the power to shape and mold our lives, and influence outcomes. We would all be better served if we chose to eat healthily. A healthy diet is just one part of long-term weight management! You can eat whatever you want – no one is stopping you.

Fittodo.com Team
Healthy Living

acroanmph - May 22, 2012

Love your comment. Like my mom always said, Life is choices! It’s all up to us, and isn’t that what we want? No limitations. Thanks for reading.

3. Sabrina Bolin (@MyMiBoSo) - May 22, 2012

Love your emphasis on the choice that we all have! The more we share the information around what a healthier choice looks like, the more we as a society will be able to make food choices that will lead to healthier – AND happier – lives!

acroanmph - May 23, 2012

You’re right, Sabrina. It’s imperative that we create more healthful options for people. Sometimes I think we’re so bombarded with convenient/fast/processed foods that people forget what food is for and what real food is.

4. Bobby Fernandez - July 6, 2012

The USDA is beholden to both the plant-basded food industry and the animal-protein food industry. The food pyramid is merely a proportional reflection of how profitable each commodity is.

I’ve seen Dr. Essylstyn’s angiograms and research. To me, he fails to make the case that his protocol is a proper way for healthy people to eat. Food medicine. A plant-based diet may be the right medicine for those super congested patients of his who have poisoned theri bodies for decades but knowing what I do about biochemistry and our ancestral biology and anthropology, I can not accept that our optimal diet is void of all added oils and animal proteins.

acroanmph - July 6, 2012

Yes, from a plant-based diet to the paleo diet, it seems we’ve covered it all. I am hopeful people will be encouraged to eliminate processed foods, at the very least. Now, if we could just extend that to school menus, include local agriculture and remove the gov’t, that would be a start. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

Bobby Fernandez - July 6, 2012

That is the goal, to be sure. If only we could all rise above ourselves and our chosen “diet du jour” that we feel we must so vehemently defend, we could get something done on a policy level. I love the concept of “JERF”, Just Eat Real Food. I blogged about it a couple days ago and it’s been the most popular post of all time. http://mfwblog.com/2012/07/02/announcing-the-real-food-summit/

acroanmph - July 6, 2012

Yes, I saw that. I totally agree! JERF!!

5. Keepin’ It Real (with Real Food) « Amy Croan MPH - October 23, 2012

[…] everywhere we look, does not mean we must succumb to eating them. As one of my blog readers previously commented, “Eat what you want–no one is forcing you not to.” Every time we eat and every […]

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