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The Daily Tonic: The Food Pyramid Is A Joke

The Daily Tonic is a two to five minute read sharing science backed health news and tips, all while getting you to crack a smile or even lol on occasion.

It is no secret that we could really use some help with our nutrition in the U.S.

Obesity, diabetes, prediabetes, heart disease, and pretty much any other health condition associated with lifestyle choices are all trending in the wrong direction year after year. 

Much of the blame falls at the feet of the federal government and our official dietary guidelines, of course. What better way to come up with a clear and effective plan to turn this ship around than to get some of the brightest, most well-intentioned people together in a room?

Well, those people got together, alright, and what we got were the updated 2020 Dietary Guidelines. Luckily, we have come leaps and bounds from the old food pyramid that told us we should have more breads and pasta than fruits and vegetables combined. But are these new guidelines really the best advice for someone looking to optimize their health? 

Not really.

Take their recommendation on added sugars for example. The scientific report that policy makers were supposed to use as the basis for their guidelines strongly recommended limiting added sugars to no more than 6% of total calories. Had this been implemented, it would have been a significant reduction from the 10% limit advised in the 2015-2020 edition of our dietary guidelines. 

However despite the recommendation, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans kept the limit at 10% of total calories. I am no math expert, but that is almost twice the amount as what scientists were recommending. With diabetes and obesity rates hitting record numbers year after year, why wouldn’t we bring down the recommendation for added sugars in the dietary guidelines? That doesn’t seem right… 

And don’t even get us started on the conflicts of interest between committee members and the processed food and drug industries that they’re supposed to be “regulating.”

You see, according to a study that came out just this year, 95% of the committee members responsible for our dietary guidelines had some kind of a conflict of interest with those industries.

95%!

Companies like Kellogg, Abbott, Kraft, Mead Johnson, General Mills, and Dannon all had connections with multiple committee members. So basically, the snack and cereal aisle at the supermarket is funding our dietary guidelines.

How can our dietary guidelines be objective, transparent, and science-based when the people coming up with the guidelines are getting paid by the big brands that have the most to lose from these guidelines changing? They can’t.

*Throws hands up in the air and walks away from computer*

*Comes back* All jokes aside, it is really important to note that these official dietary guidelines are flawed and will continue to be flawed as long as the people writing them are basically collecting checks from Big Food’s payroll. 

Next month, the White House will be hosting a conference on hunger, nutrition, and health. It is the first conference of its kind in 50 years. If our dietary guidelines are any indicator of what to expect, the bar is set pretty low for what solutions we can expect to come out of this conference. But maybe they’ll surprise us, because honestly, it couldn’t get much worse.

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