I totally disagree with the food pyramid; it is so wrong and needs to be turned on its head. I can only imagine it was invented by cereal producers. There are NO human dietary requirements for grains and yet they are at the top of the food pyramid. Who put them there? Certainly not mother nature. Food manufacturers invented the food pyramid because of the huge profit margin in grains.
Man was not designed to eat cereals; after all, they are grasses. Cows chew for up to 20 hours a day, they make 100 to 150 litres of saliva a day to produce the enzymes to break down grass and they have four stomachs to digest grains. Humans don’t have any of these and cereals are now viewed, rightly, as one of the most indigestible food for humans to eat, they also contain Lectins, which irritate the gut and stomach. Everything we were meant to eat was put on the planet by mother nature for us and these were the foods we could find, trap or hunt. Our basic diet was then, and should still be now, lean protein, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds and the oils they contain.
When people say to me ‘you need carbs for energy’ I always reply ‘what do you think the Zulu and the Masai lived on for thousands of years’? They could not carb load as no one ate grains until mills and ovens were invented because cereals are indigestible and can even be toxic in their raw state. Tribes got all their energy form vegetables and proteins. They could only eat food raw or speared over an open fire or cooked in the embers. A shocking 70-80% of the food we eat today was not eaten by our ancestors and our bodies are still not adapted to these foods.
When you eat protein or natural oils the body will use these readily, as they are a building food. The body can’t store the amino acids in proteins so they are used up quite quickly. When you eat carbohydrates they are stored as fat unless you burn them off with a lot of exercise. When you eat carbs or any starchy food they turn to sugar very fast (grains are 70-80% starch) and when your blood sugar goes up you make insulin and the job of insulin is fat storage. It’s really hard to achieve weight loss once you have eaten carbs and it’s really hard to gain weight without eating carbs. That is why body builders cut out carbs before a competition so they burn fat and its why endurance athletes carb load before competing as they will have the stored carbs to use for energy, whereas the protein is used too quickly. If you eat the multiple (6-10 servings of carbs a day) recommended by the food pyramid you are making your body store fat, you simply can’t burn fat as you are constantly making insulin.
Food Pyramid- The problem with the old food pyramid is;
- It asks us to base our diet on grains and cereals or what I call cattle feed. Grains have only been used by man as food for 10,000 years; for 2 million years we functioned very well without them. Over the last 50 years as carbs have been refined and processed and become the basis of our diet we have got fatter and sicker. They have also been modified to contain way too much gluten, starch and sugar. Grains contain mycotoxins, which are linked to the growing increase in diabetes
- It does not give men enough protein or fat to maintain muscle, also since almost all vitamins apart from vitamin C are fat soluble without fat they cannot be absorbed
- It does not distinguish between good carbs like sweet potatoes and bad carbs like processed breakfast cereals and white bread.
- It does not highlight the difference between oily fish, which is essential for physical and mental health, or eggs which are one of nature’s wonderfoods, and meats like salami and sausages which are highly processed and very unhealthy.
- It puts fruit above vegetables and asks us to have equal daily servings of each. Vegetables are far more important than fruits they have more vitamins and more antioxidants and we should have up to ten daily servings of vegetables and only three of fruit. Fruit is still a sugar and too much of it pushes up insulin levels. Fruit juice is not a good food at all, no tribesman started the day with the juice of 5-10 apples or oranges and fruit was seasonal and had to be shared out.
- It lumps all fats and oils together rather than showing us which are good and which are not. The oils from fish, avocados, olives, nuts and seeds are healthy and known as essential oils. Essential because the body cannot make them and absolutely needs them for good physical and mental health. (Depression can be caused by a lack of essential oils.) The oil from hydrogenated fats contained in margarine is what I call Frankenstein food. No one should eat trans fats ever as the body can’t get rid of them. The oil in cheese and cream should be eaten in moderation. We need to know the difference between Monounsaturated fats, Polyunsaturated fats, Saturated fats and Trans Fats. I do it this way: for Mono think Nuts and Seeds, for Poly think fish, for Saturated think of Cheese and Cream, for Trans think Frankenstein
The food pyramid should read:
- Carbs including bread cereals rice pasta 1-2 daily servings; Milk cheese yoghurt 1-2 daily servings; Essential Fats and oils (avocados, oily fish, olives and olive oil, nut and seed oil) 1-3 daily servings; Fruits 2-4 daily servings; Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, beans 3-5 daily servings; Vegetables 5 to 10 daily servings
- To eat a fat burning diet breakfast of a 3 egg omelette with spinach, peppers and mushrooms or natural plain yogurt with a serving of raw nuts and seeds instead of dried fruit and honey snack mid-morning on an apple or pear or berries and some nuts and seeds or olives Lunch should be oily fish at least 3 times a week with brown rice and vegetables or salad vegetables. Other lunch ideas should be chicken, turkey, lentils, chick peas, soya beans and veggies Afternoon snack could be crudities with hummus. Peanut butter or avocado and a second piece of fruit Dinner should be protein -fish, steak, eggs or poultry with vegetables and salad we don’t need carbs at night and they take too long to digest. A yogurt with seeds and nuts is a perfect dessert.