The Dietary Guidelines for America (DGA), which are sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and make up the foundation of the Food Guide Pyramid, are neither nutritionally or biochemically sound. In fact, many experts now believe that the very principles that were meant to be "heart healthy and beneficial to all who followed them" may be responsible for the epidemics of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity facing the nation.
The principles are based on the "lipid hypothesis," developed in the 1950s by nutrition pioneer Ancel Keys, that linked dietary fat to coronary heart disease--the nutrition community of that time completely accepted the hypothesis, and encouraged the public to cut out butter, red meat, animal fats, eggs, dairy and other "artery clogging" fats from their diets. This was a radical change to the diets of tens of millions of Americans.
Experts cite the following problems with the Dietary Guidelines:
Protein is considered to be the least important macronutrient.
The fat-phobic recommendations lead to a critical deficiency in saturated fat, an unnecessary limitation of dietary cholesterol and an unhealthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.
The essential fatty acids are ignored.
An unhealthy excess of carbohydrates is recommended.
There is not enough of a recommendation to limit the dangerous trans fatty acids.
The paper's authors acknowledge that it won't be easy to change the "long-held beliefs that animal fats cause cardiovascular disease and grain products are the staff of life," but say that ignoring the science that says otherwise is no longer an option. Further, they point out that the 2005 changes to the DGA and Food Guide Pyramid will make the guidelines more complex but won't correct the errors.
Journal of the American Physicians and Surgeons, Winter 2004: 109-113 (Free Full-Text PDF)
Comment: In my opinion the food pyramid did create the current obesity and type II diabetes epidemic, as well as increasing cardiovascular events and cancer levels, and the new changes recently announced do not go far enough.
To learn more about how the Faulty Food Guide Pyramid effects your health read Syndrome X
To learn what an idea diet looks like, read Ideal Diet.
To learn how to moderate your carbohydrate levels easily, read Glycemic Index.
Christopher Wiechert's Healthblogger is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.