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Criticisms of the Food Guide Pyramid

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What are some criticisms of using the Food Guide Pyramid?

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Solution Summary

From the nutrition literature, this solution describes the major criticisms about using the Food Guide Pyramid. It is supplemented with a compelling article of criticisms launched against the Food Guide Pyramid, including suggested alternatives.

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Please refer to response file attached. I hope this helps and take care.


Briefly, Willett's (2004) main criticisms are as follows:

1. Did not separate out the "good" and "bad" fats?"Fat's up at the top of the pyramid, and where it says explicitly "fats and oils, use sparingly." It doesn't make any distinction about the type of fat, and it tells us to eat basically as little as possible" (Dr. Willet, 2004, see interview file attached).

2. The low-fat dogma incorporated into the USDA food guide pyramid in 1992 brought in the low fat high carbohydrate crusade. "So the base of the pyramid is really emphasizing large amounts of starch in the diet. We're told we can eat up to 11 servings a day, and if that wasn't enough starch, the pyramid puts potatoes along with the vegetables, so you can have up to 13
servings a day. That's a huge amount of starch" (Dr. Willet, 2004, see interview file attached).

3. No separating of "good" carbohydrates and "bad" carbohydrates. "The thinking in nutrition about carbohydrates really had broken them down into two classes: sugars and so-called complex carbohydrates, which are mostly starches. ... The idea has been pushed that all forms of so-called complex carbohydrates are really the poster child of nutrients, and we should be eating them in large amounts. That's what the pyramid tells us to do. But in fact, these kinds of starches -- white bread, white rice, potatoes -- are starches that are very rapidly converted to glucose, really pure sugar, and almost instantly absorbed into the bloodstream. And these are the kinds of carbohydrates that we really should be minimizing in our diets" (Dr. ...

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