Food-Pyramid – not needed any more?

After almost a decade of people in America being advised to follow dietary guidelines as laid down by the United States Government, a new study is now terming them to be obsolete. The study in ‘American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’ states that the food pyramid if followed is not able to maintain the right nutrient levels in our body.

The food pyramid is a triangular representation of various food groups and their quantities that one should consume in a day to stay fit. Carbohydrate rich food such as cereals and breads form the base of the pyramid which means that they should be taken in the maximum quantity followed by fruits and vegetables and diary products. This table tapers towards the top with fats being present at the topmost point thereby suggesting that they should be consumed in the least quantity.

Walter Willett from the Harvard School of Public Health feels that the food pyramid has a lot of flaws and should be built again from scratch. He has openly said that the food pyramid in its original form provides people with a license for overeating. According to him the flaw in the pyramidal diet plan is that it does not ensure balance in consumption of food from different groups.  He feels that changes should be made in the pyramid and a balanced diet should be suggested to people depending on the calorie intake from different food items.

Willett along with his colleague, Marjorie McCullough, designed the Harvard diet which contained lesser consumption of carbohydrates and more consumption of products which contained fats in them such as vegetable oils and nuts. They then went out to check the health status of people who strictly followed the food pyramid and also those people who followed their specially designed diets. It was observed that people following the Harvard diet were under a lesser risk of gaining unnecessary weight and being affected from chronic diseases as compared to the other diet.

It is because of findings such as these that more and more Americans are feeling the need of switching from the dietary guidelines as mentioned in the food pyramid to one which they feel provides them with a balanced and healthy diet structure.