Death by Food Pyramid

Ever wonder where the American food pyramid came from? You might be surprised to find out that the original food pyramid looked very different than the one that was released to the public. So what happened? In the 1980s, the USDA hired a team of nutritionists lead by Luise Light to come up with food recommendations for the public, based on science, to promote health. The food pyramid's initial design that was submitted to the USDA after extensive research included 5-9 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables and 3-4 servings of whole-grain breads and cereals each day. When the final approved version was released to the public it had morphed into recommending a maximum of 2-3 servings of fruits and vegetables and a surprising 6-11 servings of whole grains! So, what happened?  Two things happened. First, Ms. Light stated that while working for the USDA she learned that "nutrition for the government is primarily a marketing tool to fuel growth in consumer food expenditures and demand for major food commodities: meat, dairy, eggs, wheat." [1] Second, as Denise Minger found while researching her new book, Death by Food Pyramid, the recommendations were motivated by trying to contain costs in the government's food stamp program. So, the food pyramid went from being based on the health of the human body, to being based on the health of the economy and government. Watch the video below for more information on the food pyramid as as well as how the diet industry became so confusing. Find out why what works for one person may not work for another and how there are many ways to eat right, not just one. You can find Denise Minger's book here and you can also find her at
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Photo by: Dominique Godbout is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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