While the obesity epidemic that plagues America today is often blamed on easy access to junk foods and office jobs that leave people stuck sitting at desks all day, few people look back to consider the nutrition myths that were promoted widely in recent decades on television and even in schools. If you still base your food choices on the following myths, then be sure to learn the facts and why these myths were created in the first place—Hint: They were not created with your health in mind!
1. Eating Three Servings of Dairy a Day Leads to Weight Loss
This campaign by the US Dairy Council created in the early 2000s “informed” Americans that clinical studies proved that people who at three servings of low-fat dairy products each day lost weight. The council was also adamant that eating three servings of other calcium-rich foods would not lead to weight loss, but it had to be dairy! In 2007, after the FTC determined that there was no true study that backed the claim they were making, they ended the campaign.
This campaign led to droves of unsuspecting Americans eating more low-fat dairy products than ever before. Cha-ching! The money rolled in for the dairy farmers. While all farmers (and every hard-working person) deserves to earn a good income, it should not be due to an untruthful campaign, which was what it all turned out to be in the end.
2. The Food Pyramid Guides Healthy Eating Choices
This pyramid influenced the food choices of a large generation of Americans, and it was even taught in public schools in the ’90s after its creation in 1992. Grains made up the large base of the pyramid, and it recommended that everyone eat from 6 to 11 servings of them a day. Fruit and vegetables were the second largest group recommended, meats and dairy were third, and the tiny tip of the pyramid instructed people to eat any type of fat as sparingly as possible.
It doesn’t take a food scientist or even nutritionist to see see that recommending that everyone eat up to 11 servings of grains every day would lead to a generation of obesity. Of course, there are healthy grains that can be a nutritious part of any diet, but no one should strive to eat 11 servings of them every day unless they spend their days running marathons!
Why were grains at the base of the pyramid? Was it based on scientific studies that showed people who ate fewer servings of grains every day suffered from ill health? No. While the pyramid was created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the final structure of it was influenced greatly by grain lobbyists who didn’t have American heath in mind, but instead money!
Meat and Dairy lobbies also pushed for a change in the first draft of the pyramid, which actually had meat and dairy in the “eat sparingly” category where fats ended up! The USDA gave in, and increased the recommended servings of both food groups just to appease the industries.
Do you know anyone who bases their diet on these outdated, harmful healthy-eating myths? If you do, then pass this information on to help them begin making better food choices!