The New Food Pyramid: Another Attempt At Providing Easy Answers

The Food Pyramid, first introduced to the US in 1992, just experienced a major overhaul. Why? Perhaps proper education about nutrition isn't as easy as picking out food from a colorful chart. Last month, The New England Journal of Medicine reported that childhood obesity was causing a retreat in average lifespan. That report seems to only cover part of the picture as chronic disease, such as cardiac dysfunction and Type II Diabetes have been on a steady rise in recent years. Because many people seem to be unwilling to learn how to make better lifestyle choices, it is only the toxic pharmaceutical drugs that seem to be extending the lives of these people.

Agriculture secretary Mike Johanns described the old food pyramid as being "quite familiar" to most Americans, "but few Americans follow the recommendations." The solution, found at www.mypyramid.gov, is apparently more colors and to make the bands travel downwards instead of horizontally. Yes, that counts as a solution where french fries and catsup count as two servings of vegetables in the school lunch program.

Well, some progress is better than no progress. On a positive note, the new dietary guidelines do recommend daily physical activity. If even a few people get out of their chairs because their government tells them too, these changes, and the expense of the marketing for all of this will be well-worth our tax dollars.

What is left out of these dietary guidelines is any source of education on timing of food intake. For example, how many of you are late-night eaters? Perhaps you have a bowl of cereal before bed? What do the cells do with all the extra starch and glucose as you sleep? The answer is they store it in the fat cells. If you think of a caveman, or woodland creature, bulking up before hibernation, you get the picture.

A better diet doesn't have to be entirely about sacrifice. It's more about better decisions. I'm not saying to stop eating ice cream. Consider some Wheat Germ or Grape Nuts as a toping. Both are excellent sources of dietary fiber and essential nutrients like Vitamin E, folate (folic acid), phosphorous, thiamin, zinc and magnesium. You get to have a tasty snack and sneak some nutrition through the teeth. Just don't eat it as a midnight snack!

Dave Saunders is a certified nutritional educator, wellness coach, member of the American International Association of Nutritional Education (AIANE) and author. He is also the host of a weekly, nation-wide telephone lecture on health and nutrition. For additional information, please visit http://www.glycoboy.com or http://www.glycowellness.com or email Dave at [email protected]

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