Crabbing about Carbs:
“I’ve tried to lose weight but I always fail. My health just seems to get worse every year: I guess it’s just part of growing older.”
So many people rely on this kind of “aging is inevitable” type of thinking. But it’s just plain wrong. There’s a simple reason your health is suffering. And it’s not directly your fault. It’s because the government health advice we take for gospel is simply a pack of industry-serving lies.
For two decades the government has promoted the USDA Food Pyramid. The pyramid positions grains as a primary building block of modern diets. But if you follow the Food Pyramid recommendations, you will wind up fat. Worse, you’ll end up battling obesity, diabetes, and even heart disease.
Want to know why the government would lie to you? The Pyramid was “built” by the Department of Agriculture. And what is their job? To keep American farmers in business! And what keeps farmers in business? Grain products!
The pyramid promotes big business – not better health.
Building the Pyramids
The first USDA Food Pyramid was “built” in 1992 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The pyramid positioned grains as its foundation, recommending six to 11 servings of grains each day. But six to 11 servings of grains a day will put you on the fast track to obesity. This advice is one of the key problems with the pyramid.
Harvard took a crack at “building” its own food pyramid. But it’s not much better: The Healthy Eating Pyramid recommends similar base amounts but switches grains for whole grains. But whole grains don’t fix the problem either as I’ll explain later.
In 2005, the USDA “rebuilt” its pyramid. Now, it recommends between five and eight ounces of grains a day (depending on age and sex). The 2005 USDA Pyramid suggests that these grains should come from breads, pastas, rice, and breakfast cereals. Half of those should be whole grains. But the revised recommendation still doesn’t work. It sidesteps the main problem: that too many starchy carbohydrates will destroy your health.
“The USDA Food Pyramid is cobbled together based on food industry interests, but without real scientific basis,” says Dr. Mark Hyman, who serves on the Board of Advisors of Georgetown University. “The consumption of six to 11 servings of bread and cereals daily led to the pasta, carb, sugar generation and to the largest epidemic of obesity in the history of our species.”
The pyramid serves modern industry interests. It doesn’t respect our natural diet, evolved over two million years. Our natural diet is what our ancestor’s ate. This primal diet was rich in protein and fat. And carbs played a much smaller role in our daily dietary intake.
“Our genetic nutritional requirements were established over eons of evolutionary experience,” says Dr. Loren Cordain, a leading expert on paleo diets. “Humans have had little evolutionary experience with the modern high carb, cereal-based diet which is omnipresent in industrialized countries, and there is considerable evidence to suggest that these types of diets have the potential for creating health problems.”
The way we eat today is totally different. It’s carb-heavy and protein-light. The pyramid is a key factor in this. It over-promotes grains in our diet. It suggests that 50 percent of our daily caloric intake should come from carbs. It places a much lower intake on protein and fats.
In simple terms, carbs – while good for energy – will often be stored as fat. Too many carbs will lead to weight gain. That’s a simple problem we can all identify with.
The more involved problem is the type of carbs we eat and how they affect our insulin production. This can lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Nutritionists at the Harvard School of Public Health have criticized the USDA Food Pyramid on this basis. Harvard University researcher Dr. Walter Willet spoke out publicly against the recommendation. He said the pyramid didn’t distinguish between refined and complex carbs and their glycemic responses.
He noted that “there was little empirical evidence to support the dominant nutritional message that diets high in complex carbohydrates promote good health.”