6. My Plate
Obesity has increased by over 300% since the 1960s. During that time, the Federal Government food recommendation has been the food pyramid and My Plate. The transition to My Plate has offered few nutritional changes and obesity projections indicate that this epidemic will continue to increase. (see image below)
My Plate - success or failure?
What is obesity? It all ties back to your brain and its regulation of ALL body processes. Just like your car, we need energy (gasoline). However, we also need nutrients to repair and recover from daily “wear and tear” just like your car needs an oil change, a new battery and other components. In essence, obesity is malnutrition! An obese person, in most cases, has too many calories but not enough nutrition to accommodate repair and recovery. A lesser cause of obesity is gluttony where both calories and nutrients are in excess - but in today’s society malnutrition is a much more common cause of hunger and obesity.
My Plate and the Food Pyramid
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate, though it has been revised to reflect some key findings, still doesn’t offer the most complete picture when it comes to basic nutrition advice.
Let’s look at MyPlate recommendations:
Fruits: Who can argue against fruits? Fruits are high in sugars including fructose. High fructose corn syrup is appropriately demonized and is in most processed foods. What is the difference between a grape and grape soda? The fruit contains nutrients and fiber that help your body repair, recover, and aids in the absorption of the sugars in the grape. The corn syrup in the grape soda does not contains these nutrients and actually “robs” nutrients from your body to aid in digestion and metabolism - putting you at a deficit. The issue with the MyPlate fruit recommendation is a lack of appreciation of the Glycemic Index - which is how much sugar the fruit throws into your body quickly. Pineapple, for example, will cause your blood sugars to “spike” while berries tend not to. There is a difference in fruits! Diabetics and people who are inactive or looking to lose weight must pay attention to the Glycemic Index for fruits, and vegetables for that matter.
Vegetables: No argument. However, just like fruits, vegetables are metabolized at different rates. The Glycemic Index applies again. Potatoes spike your sugars just as much and as quickly as pure table sugar whereas eggplant does not. MyPlate does NOT distinguish between these foods.
Grains: These foods are essentially all carbohydrates. Even whole grains are mostly easily absorbed carbs so they spike your sugars. View grains as high on the Glycemic Index list. Today’s grains are different compared to those grown 50 years ago. They contain much more gluten. Many people have gluten sensitivity conditions including Celiac’s disease and non-Celiac gluten sensitivity. This condition leads to leaky gut and a whole host of autoimmune diseases and health complaints of “ill-defined” source.
Protein: We all need protein. However, when your body gets enough protein, it converts the excess into sugars. A Diabetes Journal article teaches us that, “excess amino acids must be converted into other storage products or oxidized as fuel. Therefore, in theory, the excess ingested protein could, through the process of gluconeogenesis, produce glucose. This would mean that 100 g of protein could produce ~50 g of glucose. http://journal.diabetes.org/diabetesspectrum/00v13n3/pg132.htm
Dairy: This was added as an afterthought and, of course, the recommendation is that only low-fat dairy be consumed. Low-fat dairy is a “processed” food. Fats naturally found in the dairy are removed to create the low-fat product. Consequently, the low fat dairy is now a high glycemic - sugar and insulin - spiking food.
Your Brain and My Plate: Let’s face it, the My Plate program recommends consumption of a high percentage of carbs and sugars. Here are what experts are saying about sugars, fats, and your brain:
"Sugar (sucrose) is actually made of two molecules, glucose and fructose. The body has far less control over blood fructose levels. Excess glucose is diverted into glycogen stored in liver and muscle or converted into stored fat, but fructose bypasses the main glucose control point and, particularly in the liver, may be converted into fat that stays stored in the there and can damage it."
"Worse, long-term over-consumption of sugar weakens all the regulatory mechanisms, often leading to insulin resistance, hyperglycaemia and greater risk of diabetes, fatty liver, heart disease and neurodegeneration. Hyperglycaemia can also damage the platelets which help blood to clot, worsening the damage after haemorrhagic strokes (brain bleeding).
The brain needs certain fats, as brain cell membranes are made of it, but the type of fat is very important. Unlike saturated fats whose main function is to supply energy, polyunsaturated fats (especially omega-3s) are a vital component of the cell membrane; keeping them flexible, allowing the proteins embedded in the cell membranes more freedom to change shape. These proteins include the receptors which react to neurotransmitter signals, and these changes in shape are what trigger the nerve impulses that communicate from one nerve cell to the next. Neurons are superbly specialized for such fast, efficient transmission, but they evolved before today’s diet of high levels of processed (bad) fat."
Conclusion: My Plate ignores the fact that we all have a brain! What controls hunger? Your BRAIN! My plate will keep you hungry because your brain is NOT satisfied on that diet. Its only recourse is to make you hungry. If you continue to “feed” your body with a My Plate diet, your brain will NOT be satisfied and you will remain hungry, gain weight, and head towards diabetes. This is exactly what is happening in our society (see graphic above). MyPlate is a step in the WRONG direction from the food pyramid (which also did not satisfy your brain).
Point to Ponder: I’m from the Federal Government - you can trust me!
In my health ministry I start with every informational session with this statement, "where did you learn that?"
Use results - not advice - as the basis of your decisions.