A New Food Pyramid?

by emilycao on January 30, 2014 - 5:15pm

In the article “A one-man mission to change our bad eating habits; Walter Willett isn’t big on U.S. food pyramid” published on January 27, 2014 on The Gazette’s website, author Jill Barker talks about worldwide renowned epidemiologist, Walter Willett. Willett graduated from the University of Michigan’s school of medicine as well as from Harvard’s Public School of Health. He is currently the chair of Harvard’s Department of Nutrition. He mostly studies the long-term health and eating habits of subgroups of people to determine the risk of death and disease. Based on his research, Willett recommends his own food pyramid as he says that the U.S. current pyramid contains flaws since it is “based on out-of-date science and influenced by people with business interests”. According to him, North Americans don’t eat enough nuts and green leafy vegetables even though their health benefits have been proven several times. The consumption of red meat and foods high in refined starches, like white bread or white pasta, should be limited as they have been connected to many health complications. About diets, Willett says that people have to find one they can maintain for several years. A diet that is recommended is the Mediterranean diet; it proposes a variety of food that Willett suggests (olive oil, nuts, fish), it can lead to weight loss and it is easy to follow over the long term. Of course, exercise is also an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but a poor diet can still lead to health complications even for the fittest of individuals.


For many years, North Americans followed the Food Pyramid without knowing fully the benefits or the disadvantages of what they ate. Eating is essential for humans, but people are always busy or in a rush and don’t have the time to eat healthy meals. Health complications and diseases are not uncommon and people don’t realize that a good diet can avoid them. Nowadays, scientific and nutritional research constantly provides new knowledge on food. If each and everyone makes the effort to read the ingredients of their food and learn about them, it can be a good start for a healthy diet and reduce the risk of health complications. 


That’s an eye opening fact! I will definitely start looking at what and the quantity of what I eat. Since I work-out for my sporting discipline, I am encouraged to eat red meat and pasta, but I had no idea that it could lead to health complications. I’ll definitely keep an eye on that. However, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there is also another diet that consists of eating Garcinia Cambogia and Green Beans extract and it is vastly popular in the media, but is it better than Dr. Willett’s food pyramid?: http://www.examiner.com/article/what-to-know-about-dr-oz-s-diet-miracles...

This is a fantastic news summary. You definitely highlighted the key points and provided very thought-provoking information that made me reflect on my eating habits. In fact, your summary inspired me to do additional research on the politics of food guides, which influence our eating habits. I found an article, http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/the-politics-of-food-guides-1.1268575, that explains the reasons why food guides were created. The article also explains that many of the decisions made to establish the guidelines were based on “interests,” but it was also interesting to read that it was originally established (in Canada) due to malnutrition. With today’s transportation systems, lifestyles, and values many of these issues have been solved, but the guides now present new problems, as your news summary reveals. I think, this article will help us better understand what we need in the future as we learn from the past.

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