Is Our Food Pyramid a Lie?

Posted by Brittney Casalina on

Found a great article online!


Feature by Thomas Lethbridge

For many Americans, the familiar sight of the food pyramid is as close as you can get to dietary gospel. For decades, families were indoctrinated with the reassuringly straightforward government guidelines for healthy eating, pioneered and promoted by lines of clever looking people in white coats.

As the first attempt at a universal template for a balanced meal, the whole enterprise seemed to be entirely benign. We were going to be healthier, live longer and avoid increasingly common conditions such as obesity and heart disease. Yet, despite the zealous preaching of politicians and scientists and the willful acceptance of the people, America has still stumbled its way into a modern health crisis. How could this happen? The answer lies in the deceptively simple triangle that we have been blindly following.

The origins of the first food pyramid lie, like many modern American innovations, in the labs of Harvard University. At the behest of the government - aware that obesity, diabetes and heart disease were on the rise in the US - professor Mark Hegsted and his team of boffins created the blueprint that many argue laid the foundations for our current health woes.

Hegsted’s study found that America’s issues lay in the amount of fat that they were consuming. He urged people to reduce fat intake to 30 to 35 per cent of all calories, whilst upping carbs to between 55 to 60 per cent. Though the study also included some crucial information, such as the importance of fruits and vegetables, many now believe that Hegsted’s advice concerning carbs led the population to convert to a low-fat religion. It was this watershed that set us on our current disastrous dietary path.

Thanks to Hegsted’s research, many Americans believed that saturated fats from eggs, meat, butter and whole milk were to be avoided like the plague. This, in turn, led to the rise of the low-fat food industry, where products such as skimmed milk and soybean oil became “health food” staples. Though we now know that fats form an essential part of our diet, and can have dire health consequences if cut out altogether, 80s America bought wholeheartedly into the new craze - creating everything from low-fat salad dressing to diet coke.

For all its flaws, Hegsted’s study is not the only thing responsible for the nation’s dietary debacle. As a way to make the new proposed guidelines more easy to digest, the government introduced the first official food pyramid in 1992. Following the advice of scientists, the diagram featured four basic food groups - Fruit and Veg; Carbohydrates and Grains; Meat and Fish; Milk and Dairy - all topped by a sugary and fatty summit representing the many treats to which we are all partial.

Though the template lacked any sense of nuance and failed to differentiate between the nutritional value of various members of a food group, there were nonetheless some positives to be taken from the design. Fruit and veg were placed at the bottom - illustrating that they should be consumed more regularly - with carbs second and meat and dairy making up the third tier. As a basic understanding of our dietary needs, the first food pyramid certainly served a purpose.


Read the Rest Of This Article Here: Why everything you know about the food pyramid is a lie - Twisted (


Original Food Pyramid


Updated / Corrected Version of Food Pyramid

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