The U.S. government tired of the Food Pyramid, calling it confusing and hard to understand. Earlier today they released a new visual aide to help the ignorant populace get a grasp on healthy eating — My Plate. As a visual aid, I agree that the plate is more helpful. It works. It helps the average person see the message at a glance. Too bad it’s still the same old dietary guidelines which made us all fat and terminally ill.
In a recent article in the Wise Traditions journal, Adele Hite shares “A Tale of Two Breakfasts.” She compares a breakfast that’s compliant with USDA dietary guidelines with one that complies with the Weston A Price Foundation’s Healthy 4 Life dietary guidelines.
If we want to fix the obesity crisis, the USDA tells us, it’s up to us: just eat less and move more. But that’s not what the USDA really wants.
Due to their own policies, food prices and production at the farm level are both flat. The only way to “grow” the agricultural sector is to increase processing. This is where the money is. Look closely at the “eat less” recommendations in the guidelines; they are a veiled promotion of foods the USDA want us to eat more of.
“Fear-the-fat” messages that are not based in science steer us away from minimally processed foods like eggs and meat. Instead, we are encouraged to buy enormously profitable, fortified and enriched products that are virtually devoid of nutrition until they are transformed by the miracles of modern chemistry to meet the USDA’s definition of “healthy.”
The USDA doesn’t really want us to “eat less and move more.” They want us to “eat less and buy more.” [emphasis mine]
Adele’s USDA-compliant breakfast of instant oatmeal, fruit juice, and soy yogurt cost $2.04/serving. Her Healthy-4-Life breakfast of farm-fresh sausage, eggs, and cheese cost a mere $0.93/serving by comparison. Both breakfasts had the same number of calories: 410. But years of eating one will make you fat, while years of eating the other will keep you lean, healthy, and strong.
I’ll give you one guess to figure out which is which.
In a 2010 article published in the journal Nutrition, Adele Hite and others criticized the USDA’s dietary guidelines as being non-evidence based.
The report of Hite and others notes that over the last thirty years, as obesity rates have doubled, average daily calories from fatty foods like meats, eggs and nuts has increased only 20 calories per day, while average daily calories from flour and cereal products has increased by nearly twenty times that amount. In other words, the American diet has shifted in the direction recommended since the 1977 dietary goals to reduce overall fat and saturated fat in the diet. Total and saturated fat intakes have decreased as a percentage of calories whereas carbohydrate intake has increased. (source)
But wait! Don’t the USDA’s dietary guidelines recommend we eat less? Adele Hite’s report proves we’re eating more. See the paradox? When we eat a low-fat diet per their guidelines, we’re simply not sated. We can do it, but we compensate by eating more refined grains and sugars and snacking often.
The USDA’s new My Plate visual is meant to make it easier to comply with their dietary guidelines. Heaven keep us from that fate! The evidence shows that the U.S. population has complied with the government’s dietary guidelines, but rather than making us healthier, eating this way is making us sick.
The one good thing about the USDA’s My Plate? The visual reminder that fruits and vegetables should make up the bulk of our diet. At least half the plate! That’s good, right? Just let me cook those green beans in bacon grease, mash my potatoes with lots of butter and cream, and eat my salad with a homemade, naturally-fermented buttermilk ranch dressing.
Maybe Ms. Hahn will create a new “plate” visual to counter the new USDA My Plate? I’d love to see it!