Why did the food pyramid fail?
The Food Pyramid, which was introduced by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992, was intended to be a visual representation of the recommended daily food intake for a balanced diet. However, the pyramid received criticism for its lack of differentiation between simple and complex carbohydrates and for placing undue importance on grain-based products. This is because grain-based foods like bread, potatoes, rice, cereal, and pasta, despite being low in fat, have a high glycemic index, which means they break down quickly in the body and can lead
Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body produces insulin but does not use it effectively. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps the body use glucose (natural sugar) for energy. When people are insulin resistant, their muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond appropriately to insulin, resulting in the need for more insulin to help glucose enter cells. Over time, the pancreas becomes overworked and may not be able to meet the increased demand for insulin, leading to excess glucose building up in the bloodstream, which can lead to the development of diabetes.
According to a study published in Cell Metabolism, insulin itself drives obesity, and not the other way around. The study found that when mice were fed a high-fat diet, obesity developed as a result of persistently high insulin levels. This supports clinical studies that have shown that long-term insulin use by people with diabetes tends to result in weight gain.
In response to these criticisms, the USDA introduced a new guideline called “My Plate” in 2011. The My Plate graphic is meant to help people choose what foods to eat and replace the outdated food pyramid. By promoting low glycemic index foods with adequate protein, and avoiding high glycemic foods, people may be able to avoid insulin resistance and the associated health problems, such as prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
In conclusion, the food pyramid failed to effectively address the importance of differentiating between simple and complex carbohydrates and their impact on the body's insulin levels. The new My Plate guideline is a more effective approach to promoting a balanced diet and avoiding the health problems associated with insulin resistance.
- American Diabetes Association. (2021). Insulin Resistance. Retrieved from https://www.diabetes.org/insulin-resistance
- Johnson, J. (2012). Could High Insulin Make You Fat? A New Study Says Yes. Science Daily. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121204145549.htm
- United States Department of Agriculture. (2021). My Plate. Retrieved from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/myplate
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