At the end of the Legislative season, Pepsi Cola threw a party for California legislators after the bill calling for warning labels on soda cans was killed. That soda pops resemble highly regulated tobacco and alcohol in their effect on human health, was disregarded.
Pepsi’s shameless display of self interest and the effect that they and their colleagues hold over public food interests, is keenly evident in the history of nutritional policy.
One need only look back to the introduction of the Food Pyramid, a graphic for dietary guidelines produced by the US Department of Agriculture. Many nutritionists believe this food pyramid may be a key cause of the obesity epidemic. The food pyramid was a chart that originated in barns to guide farmers in the proper care and feeding of pigs. The Pyramid was heavily influenced by the constituents of the Department of Food and Agriculture which still authors this manifesto.
Why else would milk be considered a food group, but for the influence of the dairy industry? Why would the need for protein be translated as the need to eat beef, but for the influence of the meat industry? And why would the consumption of grains – even if whole – form the bottom tier of the food pyramid but for the influence of wheat and corn producers? It is this last category, in particular, that has fattened America. The consumer has been further influenced by food manufacturers pushing highly processed and sugared cereals and breads. Unknowingly, the consumer now binges on empty calories,
Fortunately, there are now numerous pyramids and plates offered by purveyors of different dietary theories. This author’s favorites are those produced by the Mayo Clinic and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in which vegetables form the basis of dietary recommendations.
It’s time to take a look at these other pyramids to guide our food choices.
Theodora Wilner, Wellness Advisor and certified Health Coach, delivers presentations on nutrition and food policies and offers clients the opportunity to design their own Pyramid based on informed choices and personal preferences. www.wilnerweb.com