From early childhood we have been told to follow a 'well balanced diet', though it would appear that not even the experts can agree precisely as to what comprises an optimal nutrition plan.
From early childhood we have been told to follow a ‘well balanced diet’, though it would appear that not even the experts can agree precisely as to what comprises an optimal nutrition plan.
It’s far too easy to just eat whatever is available, what we see advertised, what is placed before us at the dinner table, or skip meals altogether. Many of us do not know how to cook, so for this reason are drawn toward prepackaged snacks, TV dinners, and fast food joints. In the present day we have access to the most abundant food supply in history, yet it’s difficult to make proper choices in an area where our knowledge is so limited.
For decades the nutritional paradigm had been the so called ‘Four Food Group’ plan:
- Group 1) Meat, eggs, fish, legumes
- Group 2) Dairy
- Group 3) Fruits and vegetables
- Group 4) Grains, breads and cereals
We were told to have at least two servings from groups 1 and 2, and 4 servings from groups 3 and 4.
But then approximately a dozen years ago this system was supplanted by the ‘Food Pyramid’, the given reason being that the four food group plan was too complicated for the general public to understand, much less put into practice.
Compounding the problem, there were two different pyramids, each put out by a different panel of ‘experts’. The first, the one with which many of us are familiar, was put out by the U. S. Dept. of Agriculture.
The second food pyramid is credited to the World Health Organization (WHO) and is based upon the “Mediterranean Diet’, allowing more fat, particularly monounsaturated fat as is found in olive or peanut oil, and moderate alcohol consumption in the form of red wine. Both pyramids can cite published research to back up their claims adding to the confusion.