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We Need to Turn the New Food Pyramid on Its Head

upsidedown pyramid cropIt is a prevailing feeling that obese people have only their self-indulgence or a lack of willpower to blame when it comes to eating. While we have the freedom to make our own choices in regards to what we eat, a recent article, 9 Reasons Why Obesity is Not Just a Choice does a nice job of laying out nine reasons for obesity:

  1. Genetics and Prenatal Factors
  2. Birth, Infancy and Childhood Habits
  3. Medications or Medical Conditions
  4. Powerful Hunger Hormones
  5. Leptin Resistance
  6. Poor Nutrition Education
  7. Addictive Junk Food
  8. The Effect of Gut Bacteria
  9. The Environment

Others could be added, but a major one, probably the most important, is the influence of the the Framingham Study, an on-going study started in 1948 in Framingham Massachusetts. Its seminal conclusion was that cholesterol is the culprit for heart attacks and must be avoided; today, a discredited conclusion. Ultimately this spawned the “low-fat, high carb” diet still followed as the prevailing basis for food and dietary recommendations, and one of the biggest mistakes made in dietary advice history.

Cholesterol avoidance and carbohydrate pursuits have destroyed our nations health. These credos set the stage for our eating habits for the last 67 years, and are still embodied in the misguided old and current Food Pyramids. It doesn’t take much to notice that the latest food pyramid tells us that more than 50% of what we eat should be carbs (base level) and half the second tier as fruits (sugar).

new food pyramid

The “NEW” food pyramid

Unlike fat and protein, which make us feel full, carbs (other than the pure fiber) is all turned to blood sugar, which produce food cravings. Is it any wonder that after being asked to cut down on fat, our main source of energy, and to substitute carbohydrates and sugar-filled fruits as our main energy sources, that we’ve become a nation of obese people? Over 67% of the U.S. population has metabolic syndrome (diabetes, pre-diabetes, or obesity). As the “9 Reasons” article confirms, other factors are in play, but none equal the significance of the poor institutional advice we still receive about carbs.

We need to make protein, fat, and healthy vegetables our most consumed foods, the base of our new low-carb triangle, and put high grain, starchy foods, and sugar-filled fruits as the smallest component of one’s diet at the top. How could we get it so wrong when every day, every other person we see is over-weight or obese?

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  1. Avatar

    I found that, after 12 months of being 100% and meticulously gluten free, I stopped having food and pollen allergies. After that, I was diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS).

    I had to read the ingredients on all packages when shopping, had to get rid of contaminated plastic and wood food containers and utensils, had to replace strainers and the toaster because their crevasses couldn’t be cleaned, and had to decontaminate the cast iron skillet. But, getting rid of 18 health problems was worth it.

    NCGS is a real thing. Dr. Alessio Fasano and his research team discovered the hormone zonulin in the year 2000.

  2. Avatar

    Dairy should really be omitted because of the high level of allergens and the fact that a large majority of the worlds population can’t digest milk after the age of two. There is mounting evidence that dairy triggers many auto-immune diseases. Because this site is promoting health in a most admirable way, I feel a pointed statement about dairy and the food pyramid is needed. Thank you for providing us helpful information in the quest to live healthfully supported by science.

    • Eric Westman MD MHS

      Thank you for your comment. The evidence about what component of dairy is the culprit is not clear. Many people can tolerate the protein and fat from dairy on a program like HEALcare. Of course, some people cannot tolerate any kind of dairy and should avoid it!


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Disclaimer: This website does not provide medical advice or treatment. Follow the guidance of a physician before embarking on any diabetes-management or weight-loss program, especially if you are on dialysis, pregnant, nursing or under the age of 18. If you are taking medications, changing your diet under the HEALcare® program may require a change in their dosages. Follow your doctor’s orders on all medications, especially if you are taking diuretics or medication for blood pressure or diabetes. Individual results may vary. The testimonials referenced in this website are not promises or guarantees that you will achieve similar results.

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