The nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is suing the USDA and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for ignoring their healthier, plant-based alternative to the food pyramid.
According to a PCRM release:
“We are asking the government to protect the average American, not special agribusiness interests,” says PCRM nutrition education director Susan Levin, M.S., R.D. “MyPyramid is confusing, and it recommends meat and dairy products despite overwhelming evidence that these foods are unnecessary and unhealthy. Research shows the Power Plate is a better choice, and it’s simple enough that a child could follow it.”
Amen to that. Concerns that special interests control the USDA food pyramid are nothing new, but this is the first time that an advocacy group has taken legal action on the matter.
The Food Pyramid
The USDA food pyramid can be confusing. As PCRM points out, even something as simple as serving size can make a huge difference. What does 6-11 servings of grain mean? That depends on what a serving is, and what you might consider a serving of potatoes or bread could be more like 2 or even 3 servings.
The PCRM guide only mentions servings once, and that is recommending at least one daily serving of fruit that’s high in vitamin C.
PCRM points to rising rates of obesity and obesity-related diseases like diabetes as evidence that the current food pyramid is not doing its job, and they petitioned the USDA and HHS to consider their plant-based food guide. The agencies ignored their petition, and now PCRM is suing.
Rather than tell you how much to eat, Power Plate focuses on healthy foods, explaining why they’re healthy, and provide recipes to help you incorporate them into your diet. It strikes me as much more action-oriented than the USDA food pyramid.
So, what do you guys think? Are you happy with the current food pyramid? Do you think special interests play too large a role in the government’s food recommendations? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by dominiquegodbout