An End to The Western Diet – National Diabetes Awareness Month

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. Eating a healthy diet is the key to preventing Type 2 diabetes, reducing your risk of developing gestational diabetes, and preventing or delaying complications of Type 1 diabetes. The Standard American Diet, aptly referred to by its acronym SAD, is a prescription for developing Type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2010. Ironically, the dietary guidelines set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are largely to blame for the current epidemic of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

The Food Pyramid

The food pyramid, officially titled “Food Guide Pyramid”, was released by the USDA in 1992, and is possibly the single worst thing to happen to nutrition and health in America. The original version recommended six to 11 servings of the group “bread, cereal, rice and pasta”. This went against the recommendation of the nutritionists hired to help design the food pyramid. The experts recommended three to four servings of whole-grain breads and cereals, and classified crackers, sweets and other low-nutrient items as foods to eat sparingly. The food pyramid lumps them together.

The food pyramid also lumped all types of fat together, as foods to eat sparingly.

The original U.S. food pyramid encouraged eating huge amounts of carbs and sugar when compared proportion to protein, vegetables, and healthy fats. It discouraged eating healthy fats, even though those fats are necessary to controlling blood sugar, among many other things.

The food pyramid was revised over the years, and remained awful. The latest incarnation is MyPlate. It is an improvement over the original, but it still pushes for far too much grain-based food, and instead of saying you should avoid refined grains it says to limit them to half or less of your grains. It still fails to address the need for healthy fats and oils in the graphic, although there are some vague recommendations, as well as inaccurate information on oils and fats on the website.

Why It Matters to You

Switching to a healthier diet can help you avoid developing Types 2 diabetes and a host of other health problems. Many of those who have already been diagnosed can avoid the need for dangerous diabetes medications by working with the right doctor, dietician, or nutritionist to create and maintain diet and exercise plan tailored to their unique needs.

Avatar About Sandra Dalton

With a background as a paralegal, focusing on criminal defense and civil rights, Sandra Dalton launched her freelance writing career in 2000 with a weekly column on Freedom for Suite 101 and pro bono projects for individuals and organizations supporting causes close to her heart. One of her first projects was for the Police Compliant Center writing about police misconduct. Sandra’s legal writing quickly expanded to include personal injury, animal welfare, criminal defense, disability discrimination, family law and much more.