ChooseMyPlate.Gov - Dietary Guidelines for Americans, USDA scientists, nutrition experts, staff members, and food consultants. Choose MyPlate eating program to loose weight.
The USDA’s new food Pyramid called MyPyramid had many builders. Some are obvious – USDA scientists, nutrition experts, staff members, and consultants. Others aren’t. Intense lobbying efforts from a variety of food industries also helped shape the pyramid.
In theory, the USDA food pyramid should reflect the nutrition advice assembled in theDietary Guidelines for Americans. According to the USDA, the guidelines “provide authoritative advice for people two years and older about how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases.”
This document, which by law must be revised every five years, aims to offer sound nutrition advice that corresponds to the latest scientific research. The panel assembled to create the guidelines usually generates 100 or so pages of dense nutrition-speak. This document is translated into a reader friendly brochure aimed at helping the average person choose a balanced and healthy diet. Of far greater importance, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans set the standards for all federal nutrition programs, including the school lunch program, and helps determine what food products Americans buy. In other words, the guidelines influence how billions of dollars are spent each year. So even minor changes can hurt or help a food industry. USDA food pyramid
According to federal regulations, the panel that writes the dietary guidelines must include nutrition experts who are leaders in pediatrics, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and public health. Selecting the panelists is no easy task, and is subject to intense lobbying from organizations such as the National Dairy Council, United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, Soft Drink Association, American Meat Institute, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and Wheat Foods Council.(1)
Released in early January, 2005, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 continues to reflect the tense interplay of science and the powerful food industry. Several of the new recommendations represent important steps in the right direction:
o The new guidelines emphasize the importance of controlling weight, which was not adequately addressed in previous versions. And they continue to stress the importance of physical activity. This is represented by the steps and the person climbing them, as a reminder of the importance of daily physical activity. USDA food pyramid
o The recommendation on dietary fats makes a clear break from the past, when all fats were considered bad. The guidelines now emphasize that intake of trans fats and saturated fats should be as low as possible. The guidelines recommend choosing fat sources from fish, nuts and vegetable oils while limiting solid fats like butter, stick margarine, shortening and lard.
o Instead of emphasizing “complex carbohydrates”, the new guidelines urge Americans to limit sugar intake and they stress the benefits of whole grains. ChooseMyPlate.Gov
Below are a few guidelines that need further review according to the Harvard School of Public Health
o The guidelines suggest that it is fine to consume half of our grains as refined starch. That’s a shame, since refined starches behave like sugar. They add empty calories, have adverse metabolic effects, and increase the risks of diabetes and heart disease.
o In terms of protein, the guidelines continue to lump together red meat, poultry, fish, and beans (including soy products). They ask us to judge these protein sources by their total fat content, “make choices that are lean, low-fat, or fat-free.” This ignores the evidence that these foods have different types of fats. It also overlooks mounting evidence that replacing red meat with a combination of fish, poultry, beans, and nuts offers numerous health benefits.
o The recommendation to drink three glasses of low-fat milk or eat three servings of other dairy products per day to prevent osteoporosis is another step in the wrong direction. Of all the recommendations, this one represents the most radical change from current dietary patterns. Three glasses of low-fat milk add more than 300 calories a day. This is a real issue for the millions of Americans who are trying to control their weight. What’s more, millions of Americans are lactose intolerant, and even small amounts of milk or dairy products give them stomachaches, gas, or other problems. This recommendation ignores the lack of evidence for a link between consumption of dairy products and prevention of osteoporosis. It also ignores the possible increases in risk of ovarian cancer and prostate cancer associated with dairy products. Choose My Plate.Gov
The Harvard School of Public Health Healthy Eating Pyramid summarizes the best research based dietary information available today (hsph.harvard.edu). It isn’t set in stone, though, because nutrition researchers will undoubtedly turn up new information in the years ahead. The Healthy Eating Pyramid will change to reflect important new evidence.
ChooseMyPlate.Gov – Jeanette Jenkins, founder and president of The Hollywood Trainer(tm), is a Nike Elite Athlete and the official spokesperson for B.E.T Foundation’s “A Healthy BET.” Her expertise as a fitness and nutritional consultant has been featured on Oprah.com, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Extra, Access Hollywood, M.S.N.B.C, EDiets, ivillage, The Tyra Banks Show, the Food Network, V.H1, and on the BET network. Her work has been profiled in People, O Magazine, InStyle, Fitness, Shape, Self, Redbook, Glamour, CosmoStyle, and Essence, among other magazines. She writes regular columns for the Los Angeles Daily News, Urban Influence Magazine, Precious Times and MSNBC.com just to name a few. She has worked with many celebrities including Queen Latifah, actress Taryn Manning, swimsuit model Amy Weber, and several NFL and NBA athletes. Jenkins studied human kinetics at the University of Ottawa, Canada, and holds more than 17 international certifications covering nutrition and various fitness training methods. thehollywoodtrianer.com