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More on the unbalanced food pyramid

Posted by cavewomanrunner on February 22, 2009

I went out to MyPyramid.gov today to see what advice they have for the more than 33% of obese people in America, and all the other of us who don’t have a BMI of over 30. I see that they still promote a diet based on grains, milk, and beans. My personal recommendation based on my age, weight, and height includes 8 oz of grains, 3 cups milk, 6.5 oz meats and beans,  3 cups vegetables and 2 cups fruit.

I still don’t understand why grains and milk, which really don’t have any nutritional value that we can’t get in meat, veggies and fruits, and in fact, have to be “enriched,” still comprise the bulk of the recommendation. I suppose they’re easier to get for most people – just go to McDonalds or Subway – or any store and you are surrounded by grains and pasta in their processed glory. They’re cheaper to buy than real foods and buying them helps agriculture.

Yet, if you look up the nutritional value for 1 cup of “enriched” wheat bread you find the following:

     Calories: 495 – Total Fat 2g – Total Carb 99g – Protein 16g

That’s almost 500 calories and almost 100g of carbs in one serving. And those carbs, unless burned through exercise, will result in fat.

Let’s look at a 1 cup serving of chicken (breast, roasted):

     Calories: 231 – Total Fat 5g – Total Carb 0g – Protein 43g

Oh no, it has 5g of fat. Yet only 1g of that is saturated – and note that it has 0 carbs. So, no carbs have the potential of being converted to fat.

So what is the more healthy option? What would our ancestors have eaten? Not bread, that’s for sure. How about all of the milk the pyramid suggests?

1 cup of nonfat  calcium fortified (fat free or skim) contains:

     Calories: 86 – Total Fat 0g – Total Carb 12g – Protein 8g

Less calories and no fat, it must be good right? Note that fact that it’s “fortified” and has 12g of carbs. Does chicken have to be fortified or enriched? What about vegetables? No, they contain what the human body needs without having to be “added to” or processed so humans can ingest it without getting sick.

Check out nutritiondata.com for yourself. You are what you eat and if you eat processed, carb and fat loaded “advertising” food – that’s what you’ll end up being. Unless you’re a super athlete and can burn all of the carbs and don’t mind letting toxins in your body, your body will feel the effects. Try eating only natural food for just one week. If you stick to it, you’ll see a world of difference.

Looking for desert? How about McDonald’s Baked Apple Pie?

     Calories: 260 – Total Fat 13g – Total Carb 34g – Protein 3g

Remember that 1g of carbs = 4 calories. As a runner, I usually burn about 100 calories per mile on an easy run. So it would take  almost 2 miles to burn just the carbs off of eating this 1 serving – not to mention all of the fat grams.

And that 1 cup of wheat bread? At least four miles to burn the carbs from that off.


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