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More Training Info > USDA Food Pyramid

Rebuilding the Food Pyramid: Proposal for Change

In 1992, the USDA changed its recommendations for healthful eating from the Four Basic Food Groups to the Food Guide Pyramid, yet Americans have continued to gain weight and unwanted bodyfat as they�ve switched from saturated fats to an overabundance of carbohydrates. It seems the trend to �low/nonfat� may be doing a greater disservice than good. It may not be until 2004 that improved guidelines will be released to the general public, but Walter C. Willett and Meir J. Stampfer make the following suggestions in their recent article in Scientific American, Dec 17, 2002.

Overview of Proposed Changes

  1. The bulk of the healthful diet should consist of healthy (mono- and polyunsaturated) fats in the form of liquid vegetable oils including canola, olive, soy, corn, sunflower and peanut oil, and healthy whole grain carbohydrates such as wild or brown rice, oatmeal, and whole grain breads.
  2. Fresh vegetables and fruits should be in abundance; dehydrated or sugary fruits rare.
  3. Consume moderate amounts of healthy proteins (nuts, legumes, fish, poultry, tofu and eggs).
  4. Limit high-fat dairy consumption to 1 or 2 servings a day.
  5. Consume sparse amounts of red meats, butter, lard, refined grains (white bread, white rice, white pasta and white potatoes) and sugars.

Some studies show the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption for cardiovascular health; additional studies need to be done on the role of dairy products in the average diet, health effects of specific fruits and vegetables, risks and benefits of supplements and multi-vitamins, and long-term effects of diet during childhood and early adult life.

To view the article in its entirety, click here.


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