Our current dietary guidelines are leading us down a path towards obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. No doubt our society is unnecessarily suffering from multiple chronic diseases directly linked to our diet, most of which are preventable. Despite conflicting evidence, The food pyramid, created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to promote unhealthy dietary recommendations. However, their information is not only wrong but has since been shown to be the exact opposite of what we should be consuming. Why would our government promote foods that make us sick?

Dietary guidelines are not driven by scientific evidence, but rather agricultural profits.

Originally dietary fat was pinned as being the villain for obesity and heart disease. Current evidence proves this theory wrong. A diet high in refined carbohydrates is actually what contributes to obesity and heart disease. Studies show that unsaturated dietary fat is, in fact, cardio-protective. The Mediterranean diet, high in heart-healthy fats, has a low risk of heart disease and obesity. Dietary fat does not stimulate insulin levels like carbohydrates do especially processed carbs, which are absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream, spiking blood sugar and insulin levels. Sustained high insulin levels lead to weight gain, Type 2 Diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. If we know this, why are we still promoting refined grains and pushing low-fat diets in healthcare?

Dietary Guidelines Throughout History

The Farmer’s Bulletin made its debut in 1894, followed by The Principles of Nutrition and Nutritive Value of Food in 1904. Calorie counting and nutrient-dense foods were a hot topic as well as reducing consumption of fats, sugars & starches. In 1943 during World War II, the Basic 7 food groups were promoted as food was scarce. Government initiatives to mass-produce cheap food were set forth to solve famine. From 1956-1992 the Basic 4 promoted four main food groups to be milk, meat, fruits/veggies, and bread/cereal. The Food Pyramid was released in 1992 promoting 6-11 servings of carbs and grains a day. We’re going in the wrong direction here! In desperate need of a change, MyPyramid was introduced in 2005, but guidelines were now promoting equal portions of grains and dairy. Milk advertisements were everywhere urging people to consume more milk products, but the science wasn’t adding up. Another update in 2011 introduced MyPlate, which continues to promote a large portion of our diet focused on grains, dairy, and meat.

The problem, our current food processing industries are calling the shots, and modifications to our foods including hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, and other chemicals are causing America to become sicker.

The Food Pyramid promoting “6-11 servings a day of bread, cereal, rice, crackers, and pasta.” WHY!!? I wonder if it’s because selling apples and broccoli doesn’t make much of a profit…?

So who really benefits from pumping excess carbs?

Not the consumer that’s for sure! The corn and wheat industries however are making a fortune selling grains and using cheap high fructose corn syrup. Government funding helps with mass production to keep supply high and prices low. This is why processed foods are so cheap. In fact, the majority of government funding is allocated for meat, dairy, and grains, all of which are known to cause disease when consumed in excess. We are teaching the wrong dietary education and it’s been ingrained into our minds from a very young age.

This Food Guide Pyramid Poster for Young Children is currently being sold to promote “healthy” dietary guidelines for kids. The bottom row is filled with carbs including waffles, bread, rice, pasta, tortillas, and other fattening foods with little nutritional value. Is this really what we should be teaching our younger generations?

Truth is, we should eliminate the entire bottom row. Yep, we shouldn’t be consuming any of those processed items. With the obesity epidemic continuing to climb, we need to stop promoting the very foods that contribute to weight gain. 

The truth is, whole grains are good for us, but our modern processing makes the majority of them unhealthy.

My tip, focus on whole foods closest to their natural state and when looking for healthy whole grains, search for organic sprouted whole grains with high fiber, like Dave’s Killer Bread with 21 Whole Grains & Seeds.

Is there hope for the future?

The USDA just released its 2022 Sugar Program Actions to increase sugar, raw and refined, to the U.S. market.

As a Nurse Practitioner, I am frustrated with our current “healthy” guidelines and the way we treat obesity and Type 2 diabetes. We should be focused on disease prevention and being proactive in healthcare instead of reactive. Today we have a cycle of confusing dietary guidelines, weight loss programs that fail, and big pharma waiting to swoop in and save the day, only it’s not working. Prescription pills and weight loss surgery should not be highly promoted, but in the weight loss industry, unfortunately, this is what makes money. I wonder how different our healthcare would be if nutrition was emphasized in medical and nursing schools and our front-line were educated to teach healthy eating tips directly to their patients. However, the majority of healthcare schools do not highlight nutrition in their curriculum. Interesting, when so many chronic diseases are directly linked to diet. Stay tuned for my next blog on this topic!

Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health conditions without consulting your healthcare provider. Information used is based on experience and opinion, not 100% evidence. Always consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website.