Rant #3 (Or Why MyPlate Irritates Me)

My Plate pisses me off  irritates the living daylights out of me.



The Healthy Eating Plate makes me feel better.

4162618_origLet’s compare the two, shall we?

One was created by experts at Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. The other was created by the USDA.

One is based exclusively on the best available science. The other is subject to political and commercial pressures from food industry lobbyists.

One emphasizes whole grains. The other suggests making 1/2 of grain consumption whole grains. (Make your sandwich out of one slice of Wonder bread and the other slice whole grain, I guess.)

One encourages protein choices of fish, poultry, beans or nuts, while limiting red meat and avoiding processed meat. The other merely suggests that adult eat at least 8 ounces of cooked seafood per week. That’s it. No more. (Bacon in the morning, bacon in the evening, bacon at suppertime…)

One encourages eating a variety of vegetables, with the exception of potatoes (Ahem…french fries.) The other does not distinguish between potatoes and other vegetables.

Both recommend eating fruit! Yay!

One encourages the use of healthy fats, but says trans fats are an absolute no-no. The other remains silent on fats. (Which is rather sad, as healthy fats reduce harmful cholesterol and are good for the heart.)

One encourages water, unsweetened tea, and coffee, but limits fruit juice. One says dairy at every meal, despite the fact that there is little if any evidence that high dairy intakes protect against osteoporosis, and there’s evidence that too-high intakes can be harmful to your body. This one also says that 100% fruit juice counts as part of the fruit group.

So…using the logic of one of these, a wholesome meal could consist of a hotdog on a white bun, french fries, applesauce and a glass of whole milk.

Right. Now do you understand my “pissiness” “irritability”?

No wonder we are so confused about what to eat! So many people feel like they can’t eat carbs, or they should load up on the protein, or they should avoid fats, because that’s the message My Plate gives them. And the truth is…

we need carbs! Foods high in carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet. Carbohydrates provide your body with energy, as they are used to make glucose. But, we need to eat carbs that contain a lot of fiber, like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

And for those of you who are saying, “But I lose weight when I cut out carbs!”…what kinds of carbs were you eating before you cut them out of your diet? Were you eating vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains? Or were you eating easily digested carbohydrates found in processed foods?

we need fats! Healthy fats promote good health. Your body needs fat to function normally. Avoid fat and you risk getting insufficient amounts of fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fat improve blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease risk of heart disease, and can be helpful if you have type 2 diabetes. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in decreases the risk of coronary artery disease. It may also protect against irregular heartbeats and help lower blood pressure levels. Plus, they help you feel satiated!

and protein? Well, protein is crucial to every function of the body, BUT extra protein will not make you build more muscle or make you stronger. (This, according to Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.) Most Americans get too. Much. Protein.

Side note: do you know what happens if you are deficient of vitamin C? I bet you said, “Scurvy”.  Very smart! Do you know what happens if you don’t get enough protein? Exactly. (Kwashiorkor or maramus, in case you really wanted to know.)

Whew! Thank you for letting me rant! I feel better now.




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