Should We Trust the Food Pyramid?

The food pyramid, or what is now referred to as MyPlate, does a horrible job of telling us what we should eat.

Should We Trust the Food Pyramid?
Photo by Tasha Lyn / Unsplash

No. No, we should not. No beating around the bush here. ;) The food pyramid, or what is now referred to as MyPlate, does a horrible job of telling us what we should eat. It basically tell us we should be eating 30 percent grains, 30 percent vegetables, 20 percent fruits and 20 percent protein.

We’ve talked about fruit before so if you’ve read that you know that some fruit can be good but much of it is basically just a sugary food - or in the case of juice, candy in a glass. And grains are a terrible option for you to eat. Did you know grains are what they feed to cows and pigs to fatten them up so they’re nice and plump before they’re sold for meat? Grains = getting fatter.

Here’s a little tidbit of information that’s important to know…

“All starches from all of the grains are simply a long chain of simple sugars connected together. The term complex carbohydrate just means a long chain of sugars. As soon as a food is digested and absorbed, the body does not know the difference between a simple sugar and a whole grain.” - (emphasis mine) Donald Layman, PhD, professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois.

Grain = sugar in your body.

So when you look at the percentages the government tells us to eat, about 50% of it is sugary foods - depending on the types of fruit you’re choosing of course. Is that really what we want to be eating? Before we get to the evidence to see what this food guide has done for us, do you know where this “nutrition” information came from? It didn’t come from nutrition scholars. It came from a political document called Dietary Goals for the United States that was released in 1976. This document was written by political activists - not nutrition experts. And where did they get their information to put this document together? If you’ve read much about this issue you might already know where this all stems from - Ancel Keys. This one man did more to change the health of our nation than is even fathomable.

In the 1950s Ancel Keys decided to study what was causing heart disease and started a study on 22 countries and the way the types of food the people of those countries ate. But for some reason, instead of using all of the information he gathered from those 22 countries, he cherry picked six of them and only used that information. Oh wait, I do know what the reason was - because he wanted to prove his theory right more than he wanted to find the truth. You see, by picking those 6 countries he was able to show that fat was the cause of heart disease. But guess what - researchers who have looked back at this study have shown that simply by choosing 6 different countries, they can show the complete opposite! Keys did not do a true scientific study, he chose things that fit his agenda and published that as fact when in actuality, if you look at all 22 countries in the study, it shows absolutely no relationship between fat and heart disease. None.

Despite the fact that there was controversy around this, and despite the fact that evidence strongly suggested Keys was wrong, the government backed him and the rest is history. Millions upon millions of people have become sick and died because of this poor nutritional advice. We have all been brainwashed to think that fat is bad, grains are good, and it’s all about how many calories you consume and how much you exercise - and all of that is so far from the truth it’s ridiculous. Can you tell I get a little fired up about this stuff? It just blows my mind that one man could present such poor evidence about something and despite the fact that people had doubts, nobody stood up to him and proved him wrong. They just went along with it and millions of people have suffered because of this.

But although Dietary Goals was unproved and controversial among the scientific community, the government declared it “the truth” on these grounds: “We [the government] live in the present and cannot afford to await the ultimate proof before correcting trends we believe to be detrimental.” With that uneducated guess, a low-fat, low-protein, high-starch diet was declared “healthy.” Sadly, the results have been anything but. (emphasis mine) - Bailor, Jonathan. The Calorie Myth

Wow. They knew they had no proof but went along with it.

Over a billion dollars has been spent on studies trying to prove that fat is bad for us but all it’s done is show that they were wrong and that they’re just in it for the profits. Here are some more interesting statistics to help you see how flawed this “research” was.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute funded an enormous trial designed to link the consumption of foods containing fat to heart disease. The $115 million Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial took 12,866 men with high cholesterol, split them into two groups, and fed one group the government guidelines’ diet for seven years with the hope of lowering the incidence of heart disease. The government’s diet resulted in a 7.1 percent increase in heart disease deaths.* - Bailor, Jonathan. The Calorie Myth
The Women’s Health Initiative of the National Institutes of Health completed a $700 million study to test the fat hypothesis. A whopping 48,835 women ate their normal diet or the government diet for about eight years. At the end of the study, the regular- and government-diet women weighed the same and no differences were found in their health. The researchers concluded, “Dietary intervention that reduced total fat intake did not significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, or cardiovascular disease.” ** As reported in the study: “[This] trial is the largest long-term randomized trial of a dietary intervention ever conducted to our knowledge, and it achieved an 8.2 percent reduction . . . in total fat intake. . . . No significant effects on incidence of coronary heart disease or stroke were observed.” - Bailor, Jonathan. The Calorie Myth

We are being lied to. We are being told we should cut the fat and eat more grains but the opposite is true. The studies prove this. If you look at graphs that show the obesity rates for Americans over the last 50-60 years you can see that they’ve just gotten higher and higher since this “nutritional information” was first pushed on us. The same can be said for rates of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and so much more. It’s all gotten worse since we stopped eating fat, substituted healthy fats with processed food (because something has to replace that fat), and added so many starches and grains to our diet.

Think about what our ancestors ate. Think about what a natural diet consisted of before all this new information came out to help us be healthier. They sure didn’t eat lots of grains - whole or otherwise. They didn’t eat pasta, rice, and cereal. They didn’t sweeten their food with sugar. They didn’t eat food that was highly processed with a long list of ingredients that couldn’t even be pronounced. They ate whole, real food. They ate meat, vegetables, and fat. Yes, fat. And they were healthier, slimmer, and they weren’t plagued with the diseases we’re plagued with today.

Think about this - in the late 1800s one in every 4,000 people had diabetes. Today one in every four has diabetes or is pre-diabetic. If that doesn’t blow your mind I don’t know what will. Obviously we are doing something wrong - we’re doing something very wrong.

So let’s let go of the brainwashing we’ve suffered through for too many decades and quit believing the government has our best interest at heart. Let’s look at the evidence and start to understand that we can change our future and change our health by going back to the way our ancestors ate. Let’s ditch those unhealthy carbs, add those healthy and and natural fats back in, and enjoy good food again. Leave the processed food on the shelf and enjoy an abundance of real food.


*Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial Research Group. “Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial: Risk Factor Changes and Mortality Results.” JAMA 248(12) (1982): 1465–77; PubMed PMID: 7050440.

**104. Howard, BV, L Van Horn, J Hsia, JE Manson, ML Stefanick, S Wassertheil-Smoller, LH Kuller, AZ LaCroix, RD Langer, NL Lasser, CE Lewis, MC Limacher, KL Margolis, WJ Mysiw, JK Ockene, LM Parker, MG Perri, L Phillips, RL Prentice, J Robbins, JE Rossouw, GE Sarto, IJ Schatz, LG Snetselaar, VJ Stevens, LF Tinker, M Trevisan, MZ Vitolins, GL Anderson, AR Assaf, T Bassford, SA Beresford, HR Black, RL Brunner, RG Brzyski, B Caan, RT Chlebowski, M Gass, I Granek, P Greenland, J Hays, D Heber, G Heiss, SL Hendrix, FA Hubbell, KC Johnson, and JM Kotchen. “Low-Fat Dietary Pattern and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: The Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial.” JAMA 295(6) (2006): 655–66; PubMed PMID: 16467234.