Food Guide Pyramid

  1. Food Guide Pyramid- Boooo

    Well this is a topic Im very familiar with, my discertation for my MS was about adding a exercise companent to the food guide pyramid. Im just wondering if anyone else has thought about it or give a **** about it.

    The reason is: American's are being duped into thinking if they follow the food guide pyramid's daily macronutrient intake, they'll be not only healthy, but lean and thin. Wrong. Fact is, you can eat EXACTLY as the FGP says and still get fat. I wont explain how, assuming everyone knows that unused glucose if not burnt will store as fat on the body and its not out of the question for protein to convert to glucose and store as fat as well. People are blind to exercise, face it. This is the fattest, most out of shape country around. People think they can watch their diet (as few do) and still get that lean, TV look. Nope.

    I suggested and brought it up to FDA reps. upon graduation that there be a component of exercise added to the pyramid. Just to show the direct correlation with diet and exercise and lean mass and healthy bodies. They explain that this idea was in the process, so I can only hope by submitting my discertation to them that I will push them along a bit quicker.

    All thoughts and opinions welcome. I dont want to hear anyone hating on the food guide pryamind, it is very well thought out and contructed. Remember: Its created for the average American, Not bodybuilders.

  2. Re: Food Guide Pyramid- Boooo

    All thoughts and opinions welcome. I dont want to hear anyone hating on the food guide pryamind, it is very well thought out and contructed. Remember: Its created for the average American, Not bodybuilders. [/B]
    You mean to say that the food pyramid is a good guide for the typical American, not distinguishing between lean and fatty meats, and low GI and high GI sugars? I know they try and keep it simple, but IMO no guide at all is better than suggesting 11 servings of carbs per day for a 140 pound male.

  3. I can't even begin to disect the atrocities commited with this pyramid!!! Ok, i'm just joking....
  4. Re: Re: Food Guide Pyramid- Boooo

    Originally posted by BigBenn

    You mean to say that the food pyramid is a good guide for the typical American, not distinguishing between lean and fatty meats, and low GI and high GI sugars? I know they try and keep it simple, but IMO no guide at all is better than suggesting 11 servings of carbs per day for a 140 pound male.
    Thats why the FGP comes with little pictures. No where in the grains (primary carbs section) does it show twinkies and donuts, at the top theres a section for fats, oils and sugars and its "use sparingly". I think you expect too much from a small, suggestive photo. They're not going to make a label lining out a diet for every American. They can only suggest and guide you to food choices, its your job to get educated on food and their content.
  5. Re: Re: Re: Food Guide Pyramid- Boooo

    Originally posted by YellowJacket

    Thats why the FGP comes with little pictures. No where in the grains (primary carbs section) does it show twinkies and donuts, at the top theres a section for fats, oils and sugars and its "use sparingly". I think you expect too much from a small, suggestive photo. They're not going to make a label lining out a diet for every American. They can only suggest and guide you to food choices, its your job to get educated on food and their content.
    Exactly, well said YJ. They are considering wheat bread and such as some carbs for one thing, not a bag of Doritos

    I'm not a big fan of the pyramid, but as you said it's design was an overview. Anyway I think that's a great idea, the populous needs to think of both diet and exercise, I can't believe that some still think one or the other will do for a great body. What were you thinking, a moderate resistance program and some cardio for good measure I guess? Sometimes I have to remember they're aren't BB'ers as well

  6. I think a good guide would start with an explanation of the 3 macro nutrients, most American know little to known about them and believe in the 5 food groups.  I think an explanation of GI would be a good tack on to show which foods are better at stabalizing blood sugar.

    IMO the biggest fault in most American nutrition is kcal.  It seems that there is a magic number that an individual burns everyday regardless of diet consrtuction and the only thing that changes that number is exercize.  I've known many people who think that total daily kcal are all that matters even if its only from 1 or 2 meals.  A proper explanation of small meals and what each should compose of could finish the information they need.

    As far as exercize is concerned, intensity should be pushed.  Whether its resistant training, treadmill, running, swimming, biking, watever, it should be done intense.  The change of intensity on the body, in the long run would be more benefical than this low intensity-fat burning zone exercize being pushed currently.  Its also more interesting to push your body to hell and back for 20 min than to stand a treadmill for an hour which should help them keep with it.

    Well atleast that my take on it this early in the morning.

  7. People, in general should be better educated on the matter. Topics such as: glycemic index, sat fats vs. EFA's, and individual body types should be explained.

  8. Now you guys are going out into left field. I dont think intensity is as much as a factor as just getting them off the couch and maybe just walking on the treadmill. You cant ask potential heart attack patients to go out and mountain back.

    As far as the explaination of the macro's, etc I said it before, all the food guide pyramid does is guide you, the FDA isnt going to hold your hand and explain everything to you and rightfully so. Kids & adults spend enough time in front of the TV and computer these days, let them do their own research, after all,its their lives that are wasting away.

  9. I've been qualified as a fitness/nutrition consultant for millions of years now (well, about 16 anyway) and have tried various approaches with members of the public when it comes to changing diet/exercise routines.

    The simple fact is, it ain't simple!
    People want everything in nice little packages, such as the food pyramid - they don't want to have to actually learn anything.

    I've always tried to explain things in relatively simple terms, but still use as much info as is needed - carbs, including a rough guide on simple/complex (the GI is above most people's heads, and is in itself sometimes misleading), protein and its' quality, the different fats and fatty acids, and the micro-nutrients.

    Now I tend to give the advice in little chunks. Round one is knowing how many calories are in each macronutrient (fat, carb, protein) and then being able to look at food labels and work out how much of each is REALLY in the food.
    This round also includes the basic diet - I usually say 60,20,20% for carb, fat and protein, but there is flexibility in this.
    Take a multivit and mineral each day, and make sure you eat some fruit and veg.

    This is usually as much as they can take in in one go.

    The next stage is getting them in the gym/doing any form of exercise.
    'Im too old', 'I'm too tired', 'I don't have time', 'I hate exercise'

    Are you too old to die? exercise and good nutrition will help you with energy levels, start with 5 minutes each day, go walk the dog.
    The subtle approach works find, but sometimes you need to say 'Look, you need to exercise and change diet, not for looks, not for anyone else, but your own health - stop fooling yourself and get off your butt'

  10. Good job YJ I didn't know you had passed it along to the FDA. I hope they do make it a part of the food pyramid. I love the RDA they put on everything these days. I agree that people should get off their but and try and get in shape. If we were all healthy imagine how much lower our death rates, insurance costs, and costs in general would be. If we all try to inform may be they will listen and finally do something ie. the government will do something right for a change and help the American people instead of hindering them in the lifestyle most have chosen to have.
  11. Got Karma?

    Posted By Mel C Siff
    Date: Thu Jan 2, 2003 12:59 am
    Subject: A Revised Food Pyramid

    As some of us have been maintaining for years now, the so-called "Food
    Pyramid" is in need of major revision. Now, scientists are doing exactly
    that - at long last! The latest issue of the Scientific American, a journal
    to which I have subscribed formany years (annual cost is a fraction of the
    of belonging to most fitness and strength associations), presents the case for
    a revised Food Pyramid. To subscribe to this journal or read other articles
    from its archives, go to: .



    [Excerpts given ....]

    Scientific American, Dec 17, 2002

    Rebuilding the Food Pyramid

    The dietary guide introduced a decade ago has led people astray. Some fats
    are healthy for the heart, and many carbohydrates clearly are not

    By Walter C Willett & Meir J Stampfer

    In 1992 the U.S. Department of Agriculture officially released the Food Guide
    Pyramid, which was intended to help the American public make dietary choices
    that would maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. The
    recommendations embodied in the pyramid soon became well known: people should
    minimize their consumption of fats and oils but should eat 6 - 11 servings a
    day of foods rich in complex carbohydrates -- bread, cereal, rice, pasta and
    so on. The food pyramid also recommended generous amounts of vegetables
    (including potatoes, another plentiful source of complex carbohydrates),
    fruit and dairy products, and at least two servings a day from the meat and
    beans group, which lumped together red meat with poultry, fish, nuts, legumes
    and eggs.

    Even when the pyramid was being developed, though, nutritionists had long
    known that some types of fat are essential to health and can reduce the risk
    of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, scientists had found little evidence
    that a high intake of carbohydrates is beneficial. Since 1992 more and more
    research has shown that the USDA pyramid is grossly flawed. By promoting the
    consumption of all complex carbohydrates and eschewing all fats and oils, the
    pyramid provides misleading guidance. In short, not all fats are bad for you,
    and by no means are all complex carbohydrates good for you.

    The USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion is now reassessing the
    pyramid, but this effort is not expected to be completed until 2004. In the
    meantime, we have drawn up a new pyramid that better reflects the current
    understanding of the relation between diet and health. Studies indicate that
    adherence to the recommendations in the revised pyramid can signif- icantly
    reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease for both men and women.

    How did the original USDA pyramid go so wrong? In part, nutritionists fell
    victim to a desire to simplify their dietary recommendations. Researchers had
    known for decades that saturated fat--found in abundance in red meat and
    dairy products--raises cholesterol levels in the blood. High cholesterol
    levels, in turn, are associated with a high risk of coronary heart disease
    (heart attacks and other ailments caused by the blockage of the arteries to
    the heart).

    In the 1960s controlled feeding studies, in which the participants eat
    carefully prescribed diets for several weeks, substantiated that saturated
    fat increases cholesterol levels. But the studies also showed that
    polyunsaturated fat--found in vegetable oils and fish--reduces cholesterol.
    Thus, dietary advice during the 1960s and 1970s emphasized the replacement of
    saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat, not total fat reduction. (The
    subsequent doubling of polyunsaturated fat consumption among Americans
    probably contributed greatly to the halving of coronary heart disease rates
    in the U.S. during the 1970s and 1980s.)

    The notion that fat in general is to be avoided stems mainly from
    observations that affluent Western countries have both high intakes of fat
    and high rates of coronary heart disease. This correlation, however, is
    limited to saturated fat. Societies in which people eat relatively large
    portions of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat tend to have lower rates
    of heart disease.

    On the Greek island of Crete, for example, the traditional diet contained
    much olive oil (a rich source of monounsaturated fat) and fish (a source of
    polyunsaturated fat). Although fat constituted 40% of the calories in
    this diet, the rate of heart disease for those who followed it was lower than
    the rate for those who followed the traditional diets of Japan, in which fat
    made up only 8 to 10% of the calories. Furthermore, international
    comparisons can be misleading: many negative influences on health, such as
    smoking, physical inactivity and high amounts of body fat, are also
    correlated with Western affluence.

    Unfortunately, many nutritionists decided it would be too difficult to
    educate the public about these subtleties. Instead they put out a clear,
    simple message: "Fat is bad." Because saturated fat represents about 40%
    of all fat consumed in the U.S., the rationale of the USDA was that
    advocating a low-fat diet would naturally reduce the intake of saturated fat.
    This recommendation was soon reinforced by the food industry, which began
    selling cookies, chips and other products that were low in fat but often high
    in sweeteners such as high-fructose corn syrup.

    When the food pyramid was being developed, the typical American got about
    40% of his or her calories from fat, about 15% from protein and
    about 45% from carbohydrates. Nutritionists did not want to suggest
    eating more protein, because many sources of protein (red meat, for example)
    are also heavy in saturated fat. So the "Fat is bad" mantra led to the
    corollary "Carbs are good." Dietary guidelines from the American Heart
    Association and other groups recommended that people get at least half their
    calories from carbohydrates and no more than 30% from fat. This 30% limit has
    become so entrenched among nutritionists that even the sophisticated observer
    could be forgiven for thinking that many studies must show that individuals
    with that level of fat intake enjoyed better health than those with higher
    levels. But no study has demonstrated long-term health benefits that can be
    directly attributed to a low-fat diet. The 30% limit on fat was essentially
    drawn from thin air.

    The wisdom of this direction became even more questionable after researchers
    found that the two main cholesterol-carrying chemicals--low-density
    lipoprotein (LDL), popularly known as "bad cholesterol," and high-density
    lipoprotein (HDL), known as "good cholesterol"--have very different effects
    on the risk of coronary heart disease. Increasing the ratio of LDL to HDL in
    the blood raises the risk, whereas decreasing the ratio lowers it. By the
    early 1990s controlled feeding studies had shown that when a person replaces
    calories from saturated fat with an equal amount of calories from
    carbohydrates the levels of LDL and total cholesterol fall, but the level of
    HDL also falls. Because the ratio of LDL to HDL does not change, there is
    only a small reduction in the person's risk of heart disease.

    Moreover, the switch to carbohydrates boosts the blood levels of
    triglycerides, the component molecules of fat, probably because of effects on
    the body's endocrine system. High triglyceride levels are also associated
    with a high risk of heart disease.

    The effects are more grievous when a person switches from either
    monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat to carbohydrates. LDL levels rise and
    HDL levels drop, making the cholesterol ratio worse. In contrast, replacing
    saturated fat with either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat improves
    this ratio and would be expected to reduce heart disease. The only fats that
    are significantly more deleterious than carbohydrates are the
    trans-unsaturated fatty acids; these are produced by the partial
    hydrogenation of liquid vegetable oil, which causes it to solidify. Found in
    many margarines, baked goods and fried foods, trans fats are uniquely bad for
    you because they raise LDL and triglycerides while reducing HDL.......

    After adjusting the analysis to account for smoking, physical activity and
    other recognized risk factors, we found that a participant's risk of heart
    disease was strongly influenced by the type of dietary fat consumed. Eating
    trans fat [in most margarines, snacks and fast foods] increased the risk
    substantially, and eating saturated fat increased it slightly. In contrast,
    eating monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats decreased the risk--just as
    the controlled feeding studies predicted. Because these two effects
    counterbalanced each other, higher overall consumption of fat did not lead to
    higher rates of coronary heart disease. This finding reinforced a 1989 report
    by the National Academy of Sciences that concluded that total fat intake
    alone was not associated with heart disease risk.....

    But what about illnesses besides coronary heart disease? High rates of
    breast, colon and prostate cancers in affluent Western countries have led to
    the belief that the consumption of fat, particularly animal fat, may be a
    risk factor. But large epidemiological studies have shown little evidence
    that total fat consumption or intakes of specific types of fat during midlife
    affect the risks of breast or colon cancer. Some studies have indicated that
    prostate cancer and the consumption of animal fat may be associated, but
    reassuringly there is no suggestion that vegetable oils increase any cancer
    risk. Indeed, some studies have suggested that vegetable oils may slightly
    reduce such risks........

    Finally, one must consider the impact of fat consumption on obesity, the most
    serious nutritional problem in the U.S. Obesity is a major risk factor for
    several diseases, including type 2 diabetes (also called adult-onset
    diabetes), coronary heart disease, and cancers of the breast, colon, kidney
    and esophagus. Many nutritionists believe that eating fat can contribute to
    weight gain because fat contains more calories per gram than protein or
    carbohydrates. Also, the process of storing dietary fat in the body may be
    more efficient than the conversion of carbohydrates to body fat.

    But recent controlled feeding studies have shown that these considerations
    are not practically important. The best way to avoid obesity is to limit your
    total calories, not just the fat calories. So the critical issue is whether
    the fat composition of a diet can influence one's ability to control caloric
    intake. In other words, does eating fat leave you more or less hungry than
    eating protein or carbohydrates?

    There are various theories about why one diet should be better than another,
    but few long-term studies have been done. In randomized trials, individuals
    assigned to low-fat diets tend to lose a few pounds during the first months but
    then regain the weight. In studies lasting a year or longer, low-fat diets have
    consistently not led to greater weight loss.......


    Now let's look at the health effects of carbohydrates. ..... Because of
    concerns that sugars offer nothing but "empty calories"--that is, no
    vitamins, minerals or other nutrients--complex carbohydrates form the base of
    the USDA food pyramid. But refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and
    white rice, can be very quickly broken down to glucose, the primary fuel for
    the body. The refining process produces an easily absorbed form of
    starch--which is defined as glucose molecules bound together--and also
    removes many vitamins and minerals and fiber. Thus, these carbohydrates
    increase glucose levels in the blood more than whole grains do..........

    Or consider potatoes. Eating a boiled potato raises blood sugar levels higher
    than eating the same amount of calories from table sugar. Because potatoes
    are mostly starch, they can be rapidly metabolized to glucose. In contrast,
    table sugar (sucrose) is a disaccharide consisting of one molecule of glucose
    and one molecule of fructose. Fructose [fruit sugar] takes longer to convert
    to glucose, hence the slower rise in blood glucose levels.

    A rapid increase in blood sugar stimulates a large release of insulin, the
    hormone that directs glucose to the muscles and liver. As a result, blood
    sugar plummets, sometimes even going below the baseline. High levels of
    glucose and insulin can have negative effects on cardiovascular health,
    raising triglycerides and lowering HDL (the good cholesterol). The
    precipitous decline in glucose can also lead to more hunger after a
    carbohydrate-rich meal and thus contribute to overeating and obesity.

    In our epidemiological studies, we have found that a high intake of starch
    from refined grains and potatoes is associated with a high risk of type 2
    diabetes and coronary heart disease. Conversely, a greater intake of fiber is
    related to a lower risk of these illnesses. Interestingly, though, the
    consumption of fiber did not lower the risk of colon cancer, as had been
    hypothesized earlier.

    Overweight, inactive people can become resistant to insulin's effects and
    therefore require more of the hormone to regulate their blood sugar. Recent
    evidence indicates that the adverse metabolic response to carbohydrates is
    substantially worse among people who already have insulin resistance. This
    finding may account for the ability of peasant farmers in Asia and elsewhere,
    who are extremely lean and active, to consume large amounts of refined
    carbohydrates without experiencing diabetes or heart disease, whereas the
    same diet in a more sedentary population can have devastating effects.......

    Eat Your Veggies

    High intake of fruits and vegetables is perhaps the least controversial
    aspect of the food pyramid.......

    The real value of eating fruits and vegetable may be in reducing the risk of
    cardiovascular disease. Folic acid and potassium appear to contribute to this
    effect, which has been seen in several epidemiological studies. Inadequate
    consumption of folic acid is responsible for higher risks of serious birth
    defects as well, and low intake of lutein, a pigment in green leafy
    vegetables, has been associated with greater risks of cataracts and
    degeneration of the retina. Fruits and vegetables are also the primary source
    of many vitamins needed for good health. Thus, there are good reasons to
    consume the recommended five servings a day, even if doing so has little
    impact on cancer risk. The inclusion of potatoes as a vegetable in the USDA
    pyramid has little justification, however; being mainly starch, potatoes do
    not confer the benefits seen for other vegetables.

    Another flaw in the USDA pyramid is its failure to recognize the important
    health differences between red meat (beef, pork and lamb) and the other foods
    in the meat and beans group (poultry, fish, legumes, nuts and eggs). High
    consumption of red meat has been associated with an increased risk of
    coronary heart disease, probably because of its high content of saturated fat
    and cholesterol.

    Red meat also raises the risk of type 2 diabetes and colon cancer. The elevated
    risk of colon cancer may be related in part to the carcinogens produced during
    cooking and the chemicals found in processed meats such as salami and

    Yet another concern regarding the USDA pyramid is that it promotes overconsum
    ption of dairy products, recommending the equivalent of two or three glasses
    of milk a day. This advice is usually justified by dairy's calcium content,
    which is believed to prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures. But the highest
    rates of fractures are found in countries with high dairy consumption, and
    large prospective studies have not shown a lower risk of fractures among
    those who eat plenty of dairy products.

    Calcium is an essential nutrient, but the requirements for bone health have
    probably been overstated. What is more, we cannot assume that high dairy
    consumption is safe: in several studies, men who consumed large amounts of
    dairy products experienced an increased risk of prostate cancer, and in some
    studies, women with high intakes had elevated rates of ovarian cancer.
    Although fat was initially assumed to be the responsible factor, this has not
    been supported in more detailed analyses. High calcium intake itself seemed
    most clearly related to the risk of prostate cancer.....

    A Healthier Food Pyramid

    Although the usda's food pyramid has become an icon of nutrition over the
    past decade, until recently no studies had evaluated the health of
    individuals who followed its guidelines. It very likely has some benefits,
    especially from a high intake of fruits and vegetables. And a decrease in
    total fat intake would tend to reduce the consumption of harmful saturated
    and trans fats. But the pyramid could also lead people to eat fewer of the
    healthy unsaturated fats and more refined starches, so the benefits might be
    negated by the harm......

    Because the goal of the pyramid was a worthy one--to encourage healthy
    dietary choices--we have tried to develop an alternative derived from the
    best available knowledge. Our revised pyramid emphasizes weight control
    through exercising daily and avoiding an excessive total intake of calories.
    This pyramid recommends that the bulk of one's diet should consist of healthy
    fats (liquid vegetable oils such as olive, canola, soy, corn, sunflower and
    peanut) and healthy carbohydrates (whole grain foods such as whole wheat
    bread, oatmeal and brown rice). If both the fats and carbohydrates in your
    diet are healthy, you probably do not have to worry too much about the
    percentages of total calories coming from each.

    Vegetables and fruits should also be eaten in abundance. Moderate amounts of
    healthy sources of protein (nuts, legumes, fish, poultry and eggs) are
    encouraged, but dairy consumption should be limited to one to two servings a
    day. The revised pyramid recommends minimizing the consumption of red meat,
    butter, refined grains (including white bread, white rice and white pasta),
    potatoes and sugar........

    Another challenge will be to ensure that the information about nutrition
    given to the public is based strictly on scientific evidence. The USDA may
    not be the best government agency to develop objective nutritional
    guidelines, because it may be too closely linked to the agricultural
    industry. The food pyramid should be rebuilt in a setting that is well
    insulated from political and economic interests.......


    Dr Mel C Siff
    Denver, USA


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