The Revision of the Failing USDA Guidelines

The 1992 Index of the Dietary Guidelines.                                                                                Courtesy @USDA.gov

The 1992 Index of the Dietary Guidelines.                                                                                Courtesy @USDA.gov

    The American public opinion has currently placed a lot of the blame for poor health issues including: Diabetes, Heart disease, Hypertension, Cancer, Cardiovascular disease and many other chronic illnesses because of the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.

It's not clear whether the entire blame should be placed on the shoulders of the government, but it has had played a significant role in our American epidemic. Taking a look back when the food guide pyramid came out in 1992, the base or foundation recommended for a person to have 6-11 servings of grains in a day. 

In today's standards and current health conditions; that's just way too much grains and carbohydrates for the average American individual. 

     Since its advent twenty-five years prior, the pyramid went through a make-over with no success. 2005 became more confusing with the updated version of the Food Guide Pyramid, presenting the MyPyramid. The MyPyramid made it more difficult for professions as how to best explain to an individual the premise of the chart.

Harvard University states in its Nutrition Source, "the problem with the MyPyramid was that is was suppose to be designed to be simple, yet it gave a person no idea what the color stripes meant and exactly which are the best choices in each group" (https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/mypyramid-problems/). 

2005 Guidelines   Courtesy @USDA.gov

2005 Guidelines   Courtesy @USDA.gov

      It wasn't until the USDA provided a better tool to hopefully improve the individual health outcomes just a few years back. With what and how?

By providing a person with a visual tool; of what your plate should ought to look like with the 2011 MyPlate.

   New revisions of the recommendations every 5 years.                                                                                                                     Courtesy @USDA.gov

   New revisions of the recommendations every 5 years.                                                                                                                     Courtesy @USDA.gov

     The plate is divided into four equal-parts with different components such as: vegetables serving, fruit, protein (can be animal or plant-based origin), healthy whole-grains, and a bit of fat on the side as a condiment. Dairy is an option, however I'd highly recommend for you to have water since we drink enough of our calories. 

An important emphasis the MyPlate has, which wasn't mentioned in the pyramid, is to make sure at least half of your grain servings be whole-sourced and not refined such as white breads, pasta, and white rice; devoid of fibrous nutrients and other important natural minerals.

There's a major reason why we would want to include healthy whole-grains; it's to feed our very special "gut bugs". In our tummies, known as our gut microbiome or our healthy gut bacteria, which I can write a whole book about, but for the sake of this article, their benefits outweigh any plan that can potentially eliminate these nice, critical critters. 

What is also an important revision is that if the plate were to be implemented for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; the amount of carbohydrates and grains would not equal to even half of the 1992 pyramid recommendations, unless your plate is the size of a table (not recommended!). 

     Not much time has been given with the MyPlate and the significant role it can provide, or that much attention was given for that matter. However, checking out the new 2015-2020 guidelines has made me hopeful as there's an eating plan for vegetarians and for those interested in the Mediterranean diet.  

Most of the attention are on hot topics such as ketogenics, paleo, fasting, and of course, beating the dead horse using the old pyramid  as an example of the USDA's past.

In formal logistics, using an old, weaker argument of the past when there has been clear, evident revisions of what is currently available, is to commit a fallacy. 

 

     

 

 

 

Duy Tran