The food pyramid is dead.
While Americans have slowly adapted a newer model of eating, splitting up an ideal plate into whole grains, vegetables and proteins, there is still much uncertainty in nutrition. Does eating more of one thing relate to the benefits of eating less of another? Is that heaping kale salad so good for you or is eating less red meat truly what's helping your heart?
On Feb. 20th, the USDA published its 500+ page report:2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.The year and a half long study analyzed scientific, nutritional, agricultural and public health data to determine what and how Americans should truly be eating.
Two of the realities they found are pretty horrific:
"About half of all American adults—117 million individuals—have one or more preventable, chronic diseases, and about two-thirds of U.S. adults—nearly 155 million individuals—are overweight or obese."
Changes in diet and lifestyle could help most of our nation's population; intense methodology and evidence analysis proves that "The U.S. population consumes few vegetables" and falls short in many areas of nutrition. With white potatoes making up for 80% of vegetable consumption across the country, statistics show that access to nutritional food and education about what to eat is imperative.
But the big question is-- what should we eat? While the USDA doesn't create a specific diet or meal plan, general guidelines should help to improve the way many Americans eat and think about food.
- Eat your veggies, enjoy a Mediterranean-style diet.
- Reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and of desserts and sweet snacks.
- Drink water.
- Moderate alcohol consumption is fine, but skip the Red Bull and vodka.
- Cholesterol is A-okay!
- For (potentially) best results, adapt an organic vegan diet.
- To save the environment, save the cows.
For 500-plus pages of charts, dietary guidelines, resources, studies and more, check out the full report on health.gov.