In the early 1980’s, nutrition expert Luise Light, MS, Ed.D., was teaching at New York University when she was recruited to work for the Department of Agriculture. As the director of Dietary Guidance and Nutrition Education Research, Light was asked to create a new Food Guide. The idea was to replace the “Basic Four Food Groups” with something fresh and more memorable.
Luise Light and her team developed the concept of the “Food Pyramid”. Her version of the food pyramid promoted a diet based on fruits and vegetables. Lean meats and fish came next. And grains were placed near the top, where only limited amounts were recommended. As an expert in nutrition, Light knew that the body processes breads, cereals and starchy foods just like sugar.
That is how the Food Pyramid was originally submitted to the authorities within the USDA. The USDA loved the idea of the Food Pyramid. And they were thrilled with the simplicity of the design. But when Light saw “her” pyramid in its final form, she was shocked.
Dedicated to Health and Prosperity (of the Food Industry)
When the Food Pyramid was released to the public, the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture had made drastic changes to it. These changes had nothing to do with improving nutrition – and everything to do with improving the profits of the food industry!
Crackers, baked goods and low-nutrient processed foods were taken from the top of the pyramid and moved to the base, where they were to make up the bulk of the American diet. The team’s recommendation of 2 to 4 servings of whole-grain breads and cereals was nixed. The “new” Pyramid called for 6-11 servings of bread, cereals and pasta. No doubt, these changes pleased the corn, wheat and packaged food industries.
Subtle changes were also made to Light’s wording to emphasize processed foods over whole foods and change recommendations such as “eat less” to “avoid too much.”
Over her strenuous objections, the Food Guide Pyramid was finalized and approved. Continue reading