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Obesity-inducing Food Pyramid

Obesity-inducing Food Pyramid

Reinventing a four-sided wheel

Long have I railed against the USDA’s obesity-inducing Food Pyramid. Long have I known and loud have I roared that it was designed under “guidance” (see also “lobbying” “bribes” and “political favors”) from the wheat and grain industries. Need proof? Take a look at what foods are recommended more than any others: Grains – up to ELEVEN SERVINGS A DAY.

But if you’ve been with me for any length of time at all, you already know that I’m no fan of the corrupt icon – so you can probably imagine my surprise when I read the following headline on a recent AP online story:

Food Pyramid Might Disappear as Guide

What the?!? You can bet I clicked on that sucker to get a closer look – and here’s what I found out as I read the article’s lead: The government is indeed giving serious consideration to replacing the Food Pyramid as its guide to American eating habits. Well, hallelujah! Finally, some progress, I thought to myself.

But when I picked the story back up after jumping up and down for ten minutes, I read the punch line: They’re really only thinking about replacing the “pyramid” graphic itself – not the hopelessly outmoded, health-ruining advice it recommends. Figures.

Why make a change, you’re asking? Because apparently the current pyramid is difficult for our modern, TV-addled sensibilities to grasp. It seems a pyramid shape positions the sweets group (the one you should have the fewest servings of every day – the only recommendation of the plan I agree with) at the top, which makes it seem like the most important group to some people. This could be the reason

Or maybe the grain, bread, and breakfast cereal lobbies are dialing up the pressure after feeling the pinch of the Atkins wave that’s finally talking hold after 30-some years.

Either way, the USDA is unlikely to revise their dietary guidelines even with the adaptation of a new icon or catchy slogan (also being discussed). They promise new recommendations in 2005, but I wonder how different they’ll actually be than what’s currently keeping some of us so fat and unhealthy.

And in case you need any more proof of THAT assertion

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Progress in the war on fat? Uh, no!

Just the other day, a Comcast online article trumpeted the bad news (sorry, I’m on a headline kick lately):

Feds Find No Decline in Obesity Rates

Now, I wonder why THAT could be? Do you think it could have something to do with the government recommending that we gorge ourselves on breads, cereals, and grains all the time? Nah, couldn’t be

According to the article, the last two years’ numbers indicate that 31% of adults are “seriously overweight,” while 31.5% of juveniles 6-19 fall into the overweight category (even scarier). Personally, I think these numbers are low – I wouldn’t be surprised if the Feds redefined the criteria to hide the fact that their recommendations are blowing us up like balloons. But I have no proof of that – except my own two eyes.

These figures show no improvement over the 1999-2000 data. Alarming, considering the government claims to have amped-up it’s anti-obesity campaign during that time period. Perhaps the “new” dietary guidelines that are due out in 2005 will help, or maybe the pyramid’s new shape or catchy slogan will save us all!

I wouldn’t hold my breath, though, you know?

Not buying in to the “pyramid scheme,”

William Campbell Douglass II, MD

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