The Great Food Pyramid Crumbles

The great pyramid of Giza, just outside Cairo, Egypt, has withstood thousands of years of natural and man-made efforts to unravel its mysteries; but stands still today as a monument to human skill and perseverance. Yet here in the United States — a nation ruled by bureaucracy rather than pharaohs — it took less than a single generation to topple the Great Food Pyramid, created by federal Nannies in 1992. It was ignominiously replaced recently by the Great Food Plate; hardly the stuff of legends, but certain to guarantee food wellness for Americans for at least a millennia.

The demise of the Great Food Pyramid was hastened by the advent of the anti-fatness drive by the administration of Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, who has taken on the scourge of obesity in America with a fervor normally reserved for presidential candidates looking for votes a month out from the election. The Great Food Plate is but the latest chapter in a 100-year effort by federal bureaucrats to carry out what they perceive as what must have been one of our Founding Fathers’ dreams for the federal government they constructed: to ensure that Americans eat healthy.

Of course, as with the pharaohs who oversaw construction of the pyramids, money was no object to our federal Food Nannies (with a national government that thinks nothing of racking up a national debt approaching $15 billion, fiscal restraint obviously does not enter into the equation). The Great Food Plate, dubbed in 21st Century Speak, “MyPlate,” cost at least a cool $2 million. But, hey, it is more important to count calories than dollars, right? And how can you put a price tag on health, correct?

MyPlate is not only colorful and easy on the eye, but is a paean to political correctness. Where the earlier Food Pyramid and food charts urged adherents to eat a reasonable quantity o meats, the “Plate” notably mentions only the need to ingest “protein.” Certainly we cannot have the government create something that might even indadvertedly upset the vegetarians and vegans among us. By the same token, and in another obvious effort to make the Plate vegetarian-compliant, “Dairy” is afforded key billing.

The Obama Administration, as part of its effort to defend the Plate from critics, put Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak on the hustings to declare that the federal government is “not telling people what to eat, we are giving them a guide.” The real question is, why is the government involved in this business of “guiding” Americans in their eating habits in the first place? And, by the way, what good does it do? Were not Americans healthier and far less obese in decades past, without the federal Nanny Corps telling us what bureaucrats, rather than parents and family doctors decided was best for us to ingest?

The problem is not so much another busy-body administration, as it is the fact that Americans in large numbers simply accept the premise that such things as personal nutrition are public policy matters in the first place. It is also relevant, of course, that congresses lack the backbone or interest to stop Democratic or Republican administrations from thus misusing the power of government. In this, one supposes, there is a similarity with the all-powerful governments of ancient Egypt that gave us the real pyramids.

54 comments Add your comment

VietVet

June 15th, 2011
6:40 am

Yes, Mr. Barr, the vast majority of Americans were healthier, and wealthier, before Reagan and the Bushes introduced us to the miracle of trickle down economics. And there is a connection between wealth and health. Fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meat are much more expensive than sugars and starches, which by the way, are also subsidized by billions of dollars in agricultural subsides. So rather than complain about spending two million dollars on education to address obesity, which does drive up the cost of health care, how about looking into the billions squandered on giveaways to agribusiness and factory farming. That’s killing two birds with one stone.

Eric

June 15th, 2011
6:40 am

Mr. Barr, I’m glad you point out the “overreach” of the Fed. How funny to read, that yes, indeed, past generations (without nutrition “experts”) were not as obese as we are today. I also thought it was important that you mention both Dem and Rep administrations as part of the misuse of power and money. As for me, I actually like, and prefer, the food pyramid, which made a lot of sense–balance and moderation in all things, particularly with diet. What more need be said?

Carlosgvv

June 15th, 2011
7:20 am

It’s much easier for the Govt. to tell us how and what to eat than to work on problems like unemployment, our crumbling infrastructure, global warming, illegal aliens, the national debt, and the homeless. Style over substance is now the reality in American politics and is why we will soon be a second-rate country.

mr.goodbody

June 15th, 2011
7:27 am

does anyone remember if the indignant right threw a conniption fit in ‘92 with the pyramid like the one we see today with the plate?

Momof2skinnykids

June 15th, 2011
7:58 am

The food pyramid has been dumbed down to a food plate, just like our public school systems have been dumbed down over the past 25 years. The First Lady seems to think the plate is easier for kids to understand, but both of my kids could understand the food pyramid in 1st grade. Then again my kids don’t attend public school and enjoy a challenge. This is a big waste of federal funds.

[...] the foods that we're eating, and as a mom, I can already tell how much this is going to …The Great Food Pyramid CrumblesAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Eat healthy, live longer: Simplify eating habits with new food [...]

Barack

June 15th, 2011
9:30 am

For your vote for a re-election to a 2nd term, the Obama administration will update the guidlines to endorse The McPlate. Then anything you want to eat, the government will confirm will be good for you. guilt free eating folks, endorsed by your federal government.

WOW

June 15th, 2011
9:45 am

What’s so hypocritical is the fact that Michelle “Chewbacca” Obama is fat and pigs out on ribs etc. I can’t wait to see the look on Cynthia Tuckers face when Obozo gets his arse kicked in 2012.

WOW

June 15th, 2011
9:46 am

mr.goodbody

No, must be one of Hillary’s “right wing conspiracy” notions.

WOW

June 15th, 2011
9:48 am

“the vast majority of Americans were healthier, and wealthier, before Reagan and the Bushes introduced us to the miracle of trickle down economics. ”

Another classic example of what happens when a person flunks US History.

“And there is a connection between wealth and health.”

Gotta love stupid people. I know many many many middle class folks who are healthy and it has nothing to do with money. I know many many many wealthy people who are fat, diabetic and eat fried foods everyday.

Go sell stupid somewhere else.

Jefferson

June 15th, 2011
10:08 am

Just helping out, whats wrong with helping out?

Power Vegan

June 15th, 2011
10:13 am

Animals have rights too- the right to be delicious!

Peter

June 15th, 2011
10:14 am

American’s are fat, lazy and dumb in general when it comes to health……thus the expense of keeping American’s alive via drugs and health care……. the Health industry is smiling all the way to the bank !

And YES………it costs more money to eat healthy……WOW is probably over weight.

WOW

June 15th, 2011
10:20 am

“American’s are fat, lazy and dumb ”

Yes Peter, yes you are.

“WOW is probably over weight.”

I love it when retards like Peter get on a blog and write things like this. It just gives me ammo to come back swinging.

Peter

June 15th, 2011
10:30 am

WOW …..say something then if you want to come out swinging…….. gosh anything.

Peter

June 15th, 2011
10:35 am

WOW say something, or sell stupid somewhere else.

GT

June 15th, 2011
10:51 am

There must be an equation between pounds and education. The more lbs the less education. If I had a dead end life which uneducated people basically have I would try to find as much drugs and comfort food as I could, sex too. It is like not believing in God no hope type stuff. Uneducated people say they believe in God but really listen to what they believe in and it is so contrived with the manipulation from outside sources I’m not sure God would recognize himself in their image.
This country is in a mental depression. They see celebrities and they know it is ridiculous to hope they could ever be like them. Not because of any talent that may actually help mankind. Their idols are superficial, no points for intelligence or being law abiding. Tattoos instead of books. Some huge number of fourth graders cannot even tell you who Abe Lincoln is when they see his picture. I bet if you put a picture of a rap artist up there he or she does better than with honest Abe. Society goes where the easy money is and more and more that easy money contradicts what is good.
I often wonder if Obama is not the first black educated man some of these kids black or white kids have ever seen. A man not grabbing his crotch in front of a camera or using the f word is a freak in this generation. Watching the NBA is like watching professional wrestling both classless demonstrations of modern reality. The Chinese are not defeating us on the economic front we are defeating ourselves and they are just taking the spoils of our default. My hat is off to Obama for at least trying to point out these things and for being the one example of what a black man can be, and he has done a better job that most white men at just doing the right thing. Even in the negativity of a Tea Party that would throw rocks at anything different than themselves. Another great example to our youth of shallowness, and who could ever mistake SP as a history teacher. .

mr.goodbody

June 15th, 2011
11:16 am

wow,

i’d bet some tofu- wow is a fat, stupid, 45 yr. old virgin.

Harold Franch

June 15th, 2011
11:27 am

The first amendment clearly protects Mr. Barr’s right to write without any knowledge of his subject. He may be an expert on limited government, but he did not do any research on human nutrition in preparation for writing this editorial. The food pyramid was changed to reflect the new information on what is healthy. My clinical and research work involves protein nutrition. Dairy was added not for vegetarians (some of whom do not consume dairy!), but for dairy’s effects on cardiovascular disease, hypertension, kidney stones and bone risk. Protein replaced meat because studies showing various types of protein (including meat) appear to provide benefits. In fact, choosing a variety of protein sources has some advantages in reducing risk of osteoporosis and kidney stones and may help some people avoid saturated fat.

Secondly, vegetarianism is not politically correct in the nutrition science community. There are many respected authorities that argue strongly for the importance of meat in the diet and many studies that support this view. These scientists are respected leaders in many nutrition societies, get their research published in the best journals, and get their research grants funded at levels as high (if not higher) than those who support vegetarianism. Published nutrition guidelines (including the new plate) clearly provide a major role for meat in the diet.

Mr. Barr clearly believes the federal government has no role in protecting human health, so arguing cost-benefit analysis with him is useless. He would rather people die than the federal government do anything about promoting health. He would likely argue that the private groups should promote health. I would point out him that non-federal nutrition guidelines are very similar. The charities (American Heart association, American Diabetes Association, American Cancer Society, etc.), insurance companies (Kaiser, United Healthcare, etc.) and medical societies (American Association of Family Practice, American Pediatric Association) that he feels should be promoting health have guidelines that are nearly identical on the importance of dairy and use of non-meat protein in the diet.

Mr. Barr should write about what he knows.

Civilian

June 15th, 2011
11:49 am

Harold Franch should get a life…I nominate him to be the new Secretary of the Great Food Plate

WOW

June 15th, 2011
12:09 pm

“i’d bet some tofu- wow is a fat, stupid, 45 yr. old virgin.”

You shouldn’t bet your double wide on that, troglodyte.

WOW

June 15th, 2011
12:10 pm

“He would rather people die than the federal government do anything about promoting health.”

Death is inevitable, Gump. I’d rather my tax dollars go to my own interests than your dietary plan. I’d also rather you shut the hell up and get a life.

mr.goodbody

June 15th, 2011
12:19 pm

wow definitely has some mommy issues.

Bryan

June 15th, 2011
12:21 pm

The best part of libertarianism is preventing governmental overreach that impacts the quality of our lives. A strong libertarian bent can protect us from the worst qualities of government by asking the crucial question “Does this really help?” and “Is this who we really are?” We should not be reflexively and mindlessly opposed to any government action (as too many “libertarians” are — I say “libertarians,” because a more apt description would be anarchists). But we should make sure that government works for us, rather than independent of us. That is the best part of libertarianism.

The worst part? The whining. My goodness, the whining. Oh my god! They came out with a new food pyramid! It takes a slightly different approach! It’s round! It must be part of a conspiracy to favor vegans! The government is telling me what to eat! Or something! Man…come on. There are real problems in the world — there are governments that really do oppress their peoples. There are serious, actual issues out there. Your concern? Your food pyramid is now a plate. (You sound like you’re about to go off and eat paste in protest.)

And, look, I get it — we should only have the government do this if it’s cost-benefit effective. But it cost almost nothing to make the change, and the benefit from voluntary improvement in health is likely substantial — a libertarian should be ok with the change. So why do you guys whine about it?

Well, that’s the thing. The only universe in which that complaint makes sense is one in which the government is inherently evil, inherently the enemy, and inherently a change from the true, “natural” world (which isn’t natural or true, but leave that aside).

And that’s a child’s view of the world. All government can be improved — you get ten people in a room, set up a government, and I guarantee you it will have flaws. But only a child turns to believing that government itself is evil, and that anything coming out of the government is therefore evil.

Libertarianism is a good thing. But you’ve got to be an adult to make it work — a child’s view of libertarianism is simply pedantic nihilism. So be a libertarian, Bob, not a child. And drink your milk.

Oakhurstdawg

June 15th, 2011
12:23 pm

Nice comments Mr. Franch…

Bob, before you keep up to much pressure on that gasket you’re going to blow over big government, keep in mind that these are just recommendations. The government is not making anyone do anything. I’m sitting in at my desk eating a cheesburger and fries and washing it down with a soda right now. As far as I know the authorities have not been alerted to this.

That said, this country is experiencing an obesity epidemic and all of the health realted costs that go along with it. It’s just that simple.

I’d say a lot more should be done…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obesity_in_america

Oakhurstdawg

June 15th, 2011
12:29 pm

Bryan…that’s the best comment anyone has ever made on this blog.

“So be a libertarian, Bob, not a child. And drink your milk.”

I like your style.

Pie Chart

June 15th, 2011
12:32 pm

The cream pie is the best food chart. You can throw it at arrogant morons. You know, like Curly did.

Government Regulation of our lives? Governmnet has a role to play. Witness 2007-2009. Alan Greenspan needs a pie for his role in the OTC derivative castastrophe that nearly brought down our civilization and which still might.

Alan Greenspan is the worst scoundrel the world has ever had to endure. He admits it as much. Why did we let that idiot get away with it? We would have been better off if Pee Wee Herman had been the Fed Chairman.

and thad’s just a natural-born fact, jack.

Nope

June 15th, 2011
12:40 pm

What a stupid, petty useless article.

WOW

June 15th, 2011
1:29 pm

“wow definitely has some mommy issues.”

What a profound comeback.

WOW

June 15th, 2011
1:29 pm

“What a stupid, petty useless article.”

And you post here, why, Dope?

mr.goodbody

June 15th, 2011
1:43 pm

wow got some daddy issues, as well.

WOW

June 15th, 2011
1:53 pm

mr.goodbody got some sexual issues.

J. Wellington Wimpy

June 15th, 2011
2:07 pm

i’d bet some tofu- wow is a fat, stupid, 45 yr. old virgin

Wow is really a hands on kinda guy. Why he, Mr. right hand, vaseline and Wee Willie Winkle are the very best of friends.

WOW

June 15th, 2011
2:10 pm

I live in my mom’s basement, eat cheetos and ice cream, and I’m really a nice guy.

Don’t hate me because I’m stooopid.

Misty

June 15th, 2011
2:12 pm

WOW

June 15th, 2011
2:45 pm

The AJC doesn’t take too kindly to blog handle stealing.

ND

June 15th, 2011
3:05 pm

Bob Barr is clearly angry at the omission of Borat’s mother’s breast milk cheese from the plate. It surely deserves its own section.

Pie Chart

June 15th, 2011
4:00 pm

The Egyptians took over a hundert year to build the food pyramids and it took MickeyD’s only one generation to turn them all into mumified phat-pharoahs.

bwa

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Aracely Gayfield

June 16th, 2011
4:17 am

There has been? scientific proof that eat meaters are more likely to have a Vit. B12 deficiency than vegetarians or vegans. This is because of the bad quality of meat, and because the body has to use all the vitamine which are already in the body present, to digest the meat. By the way, execpt for the B12, all proteins are available in algeas like spirulina and chlorella, and wheatgrass!!! central air conditioner prices guide

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Pie Chart

June 16th, 2011
7:48 am

The problem, peoples, occurs whenever someone believes their own self-help. As soon as a person thinks that maybe they do have something others don’t in terms of human capabilities, then either the know-it-all suffers a devastating set back, or those in the uber-thinker’s orbit do.

Stay humble. Be childlike. Get others involved in your audits.

Peter

June 16th, 2011
9:08 am

Well WOW…did you get out and get your evening or morning exercise in ?

Today was a cool and wonderful day for a run !

Peter's inbred mom

June 16th, 2011
9:39 am

PETER!!!!! GET YO A$$ OUT OF MY TRAILER!!!!!!

WOW

June 16th, 2011
12:03 pm

Peter

Did you remember to pay your trailer rent this month? I know the guvmint took more of your welfare check but please remember to pay your trailer rent.

Peter

June 16th, 2011
1:25 pm

No trailer parks in Sandy Springs GA that I know of…..WOW you really can’t come up with much brain power can you ?

Well hard to think as a slug……you missed a great day to run today !

WOW

June 16th, 2011
1:27 pm

Peter

I guess when you have a low IQ, you don’t have much to live for other than poorly worded comebacks. Sucks for you, Gump.

Now get back to delivering those pizzas, b!tch!

Rob Woodall's mommy and daddy bought his healthcare, now his Uncle Sam pays for it.

June 16th, 2011
2:25 pm

Bobby…. Buddy,

I can agree with your premise that it isn’t the government’s job to try to educate the populace on nutrition so long as it isn’t going to be the government’s job to care for anyone’s diabetes-wracked body once they’ve pushed maximum density because of too many Big Macs.

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