Saturday, June 4, 2011

New "Food Pyramid"- better but not good enough!

What I like about the new "Plate":

The first thing my eyes were drawn to when I saw the new "Food Pyramid", or "Plate" from the USDA was the LARGE "Vegetables" portion in bright green - which really makes it stand out! This instantly made me very happy!, plus the Fruits, so at least half the "Plate" is filled with what it's suppose to be filled with. I also like the fact that there's no word "meat"! And I like the fact that there's only a SMALL icon for dairy and that it is OFF THE PLATE- giving the impression that it is only AN OPTION. That's the way I take it anyway.
I like the fact that the word "protein" at least can infer a protein source be other than animal food, like beans (legumes)/soy, etc.

What I don't like about the new "Plate":

1) The size of the protein icon IS TOO LARGE! There is a myth we need all this protein. Excess protein, especially animal protein taxes your kidneys. According to Joel Fuhrman, MD, adults only require 30 grams of protein a day. He says most people in America consume 100-120 grams of protein a day, mainly from animal foods. See Fuhrman's book Eat For Health on pages 170-173 on protein requirements.
In my view, the protein icon could be much smaller, or there doesn't even need to be a protein icon on the "plate" at all. If you eat a well rounded starch based, plant based diet you get everything you need, including protein, calcium, etc.

2) There should not be ANY dairy included on the "plate". All dairy foods contain disease promoting ingredients. Besides the saturated fat and cholesterol, a cow's milk protein and estrogen promotes human diseases like prostate and breast cancer, diabetes II, and others! Human beings DO NOT NEED the milk from a cow! Only its baby does! The only foods that should be on the "plate" should be foods that humans NEED.

3) I like the fact that grains are included on the "plate" but the icon is way too large. It's as large as the vegetables icon! It really makes me wonder who designed this plate. I'd really like to talk to this person/these people, as I'm sure doctors like Fuhrman, McDougall, and countless others in the know would like to talk to the designer(s) as well. With all the great doctors and their books out there you'd think this time they'd've gotten it right! Why didn't the designers of the new "plate" consult with someone who knows what they're talking about?!!

I understand that we can't immediately turn to an all plant based diet in our country especially because of economic reasons. Many people depend on the meat and dairy industry for their jobs. I suggest we need to slowly transition away from animal based agriculture to a plant based agriculture.

I have to give Michelle Obama a lot of credit for her passion to improve the diets and health of Americans through her work. It is sad however that she apparently does not completely understand true nutrition. It is my wish she read any of the books written by McDougall, Fuhrman, and countless others that explain true nutrition. Or she should consult with Bill Clinton. From dealing with his own diseases he has learned what is healthy and what is not. Scroll down for his video at

In my view there should only be vegetables, fruit, legumes (beans, etc.), whole grains, seeds and nuts on "The Plate"- ONLY health promoting foods. Here's what "My Plate" would look like:

Starchy vegetables -as the main part of the meal: rice, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, or beans

Green vegetables

All other vegetables, all colors


Legumes -beans, lentils, or peas

Whole, unrefined grains

Raw nuts and seeds -not roasted or salted

Drinks: good, clean water or freshly juiced vegetables or fruit (from a juicer)

A diet that is well-rounded containing a variety of the afore-mentioned plant foods and drinks provides for nutritional excellence. At the bottom of the page under "My Plate" I would include this note: *For meat eaters, 2-3 small servings of animal foods per week is acceptable (Fuhrman) as long as there is a wide variety of plant foods in the diet.

Or to make it EXTREMELY simple, a "Plate" or "Food Pyramid" is unnecessary. All that would be needed is a basic explanation of the healthiest diet to strive for:

Strive for a plant based, starch based diet of raw and healthfully cooked plant foods.
For people who eat food from animals, 2-3 small servings of animal foods per week is acceptable as long as there is a wide variety of plant foods in the diet.


The new "Plate" is better than the old Food Pyramid, but certainly not good enough. Maybe in years to come when they design THE NEXT "Plate" they'll finally get it right!

Check out this food pyramid from Julieanna Hever, MS, RD: