Friday, October 10, 2014

A New Resource For Healthy Living

By Cliff Walsh

I recently began looking for a (much) healthier version of the average American's diet in an effort to avoid foods filled with saturated fat, salt, and a host of other harmful chemical additives. Since the government's food pyramid has been so prevalent in society, I decided to start there. I didn't realize that it had been replaced with MyPlate. After studying both diets, I wasn't satisfied.

Amongst the principal concerns using the pyramid might be the recommendation for all of us to consume 6-11 servings of breads, pastas, together with other grain products each and every single day. Not only is that an excessive volume of grains, there is no reference to whole grain items versus refined grains. Yet another disadvantage would be that the pyramid fails to separate meat, chicken, seafood, and nuts in spite of having entirely distinct nutritional profiles. Chicken commonly has significantly less saturated fat than meat, cold-water seafood, nuts and seeds. moreover, it doesn't separate the healthier fat in seafood and nuts in comparison to the unhealthy fatty foods regularly found in meat. I also think there is an excessive volume of dairy at 2-3 portions every single day. Why do humans need to drink the milk product of some other animal? uppermost section of the pyramid, which contains fats, oils, and sweets also fails to separate essential fats in some oils and undesirable fats in sweets. Additionally, listing fat like it's a food category like meat is confusing.

Following a fair amount of criticism in recent years, the government introduced MyPlate in 2011 to replace the food pyramid. Despite the fact that the MyPlate recommendations suggest more nutrition coming from fruits and vegetables, it needs improvements in a variety of sections. The advice still permits half of grains to come from processing (refined) while the meat section does differentiate processed meat like bacon and sausages from purer forms of meat. Finally, healthy fats are nowhere to be found on the plate and my dairy concerns remain unchanged.

Luckily, I found an approach that is considerably more healthy, aptly named the Healthy Eating Pyramid, researched and designed by Harvard faculty. It uses independent research studies and dietary analysis, without the influence of the food industry lobby, which unfortunately appears to apply to the USDA's efforts. Harvard's pyramid makes several crucial enhancements and distinctions in comparison to the USDA's suggestions. First off, in addition to making distinctions from whole grain items and refined grains, the level of refined grains is significantly lowered. The same thing applies to red meat and processed meat. They are separated from seafood and chicken, and recommended to be eaten infrequently.

Harvard's pyramid also consists of sections on healthy oils, nuts, and seeds, distinguishing between healthy (unsaturated) and unhealthy (saturated) fats. Their research suggests either a lower amount of dairy, compared to the USDA's version, at 1-2 portions each day or supplementation with vitamin D and calcium. A multivitamin and daily exercise are also important pieces to the overall philosophy.

Overall, this appears to be a drastic improvement to the government's nutritional recommendations. It is appears to be unbiased and based on legitimate research. If you're looking for a better way, this could be exactly what you're searching for. Good luck!

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